Change of name

Change of name deed

You do not have to follow any particular legal process to start using a new name. However, you might need a ‘deed poll’ to prove your new name to banks and official institutions such as HM Passport Office or the DVLA.

You do not need to go through this process if you are changing your name back to your maiden name because you are now divorced. You can simply take your divorce papers to the bank, passport office etc. A Deed Poll is used in other situations such as choosing a different name (perhaps because you don’t like your name or people already call you another name), removing a name you dislike, changing the spelling of your name, and so on.

A Deed Poll is simply a document that declares your old name and new name. Gov.uk gives an example of a Deed Poll template:

“I [old name] of [your address] have given up my name [old name] and have adopted for all purposes the name [new name].

“Signed as a deed on [date] as [old name] and [new name] in the presence of [witness 1 name] of [witness 1 address], and [witness 2 name] of [witness 2 address].

“[your new signature], [your old signature]

“[witness 1 signature], [witness 2 signature]”

In theory, you could fill this in and sign it in the presence of two witnesses, and this would be a valid Deed Poll.

However, every institution has different requirements. Some institutions require that the document is supported by a Statutory Declaration. Others may require that it is enrolled with the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The benefit of having the change enrolled is that it provides a public record of the name change, and nobody can dispute it. However, it is a slightly longer process.

It is worth checking online or asking the organisation you are dealing with what evidence they require. Obviously it is much quicker and simpler if they will accept the above template, duly signed and witnessed!

If more is required, we can draft a straightforward Deed as evidence of your change of name, prepare a Statutory Declaration to support your application or prepare an application for the Royal Courts of Justice. We can help with any aspect of this process for both adults and minors.

If you decide to have the application enrolled with the Court, we will prepare a Change of Name Deed, together with a notice for the London Gazette and a Statutory Declaration. The Statutory Declaration needs to be sworn by someone who has known you for at least 10 years in the presence of a Solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths. The person making the declaration must not be a near relative of yours or your spouse or civil partner – they must also be a Commonwealth or British Citizen and a ‘house holder’ (to prove they are a permanent resident within the United Kingdom).

Where the change of name deed is for a minor, the person making the Statutory Declaration will declare how long they have known the person with parental responsibility, which must be for no less than 10 years, and also how long they have known the Minor.

If you are married then (somewhat archaically!) you will need the permission of your husband or wife to the name change. This is usually provided in the form of a letter which we can assist with.

For those under 18, the the written consent from all persons having ‘Parental Responsibility’ for the child will be required. In addition, those aged 16 – 18 must also consent themselves to the name change. Further, an Affidavit of Best Interest will need to be drafted which will state the reason or reasons why it is in the Minor’s best interest to change their name.

In addition to any solicitor fees, there are some disbursements to pay:

Court Enrolment Fee £10.00
Advertisement Charge £24.00 (incl. VAT)
Copy of London Gazette £2.00

These are not optional and must be paid by cheque which will be made out to the Court services.

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