Deed Poll: How Can I Legally Change My Name?

by | Jun 7 2021 | Civil Litigation, Small Legal Services

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Changing your name by deed poll | 5 minute read

Deciding to change your name can be for many different reasons. You may be getting a divorce, you may be reassigning your gender, or you may simply dislike the name you were given at birth. Whatever the reason behind it, changing your name is a legal matter and will have to be handled formally.

In the UK, your name is legally “established” by its usage. You could wake up one day and start living under another name, and no one can say otherwise. However, you will need to formally update all of your legal documents to reflect your new name, such as your driving license and your passport. 

LGBT Lawyers Changing your name by deed poll

What is a deed poll and when might i need one?

A deed poll is a document that legally shows the changing of someone’s name. They can be very flexible, allowing the applicant to add, remove or change names. You can also add hyphens to an existing name or alter the spelling. You will need to apply for one in the following situations:

  • If you have completed the gender reassignment process and now need to legally edit all of your documents
  • Simply because you don’t like the name you were given at birth
  • If your name has caused you discrimination throughout your life
  • You have finished the divorce process and now what to change your name
  • If you are a mother and you want your child to have the same surname as you

What are the different types of deed poll?

There are two official types of deed poll that you can apply for. An unenrolled deed poll is for anyone who is over the age of 16 who wants to make the change on their own and use this change as proof of their new name. An unenrolled deed poll doesn’t go on public record. Despite the fact you can do it yourself, it’s always best to use the assistance of a lawyer to avoid mistakes.

An enrolled deed poll is for anyone who is over the age of 18. Unlike an unenrolled deed poll, you have to apply for an enrolled deed poll, and all of your updated details will go on public record. While you don’t necessarily have to use legal assistance for your deed poll, it is time and cost effective to do so in the long run. 

LGBT Lawyers picture of a business card for a deed poll
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How does it all work?

You will need to declare 5 things: 

1. You will declare your identity under your new name
2. That you renounce your former name and abandon it fully
3. You are taking on a new, legal name, and you will use this name in every transaction or contract going forwards
4. You are a British or Commonwealth citizen
5. That you want other people to refer to you by your new, chosen name

You will also need to fill in an official form, which will need to be witnessed. The form will then go alongside all of your official documents to indicate the name change. 

I’m re-assigning my gender: what do i need to consider?

More likely than not, those reassigning their gender will choose a new name that is either gender-fluid or of the opposite gender. Legally changing your name and gender will also require you to have a gender recognition certificate (GRC). This recognises your chosen gender and allows you to legally live in that gender going forwards.

Those reassigning their gender can change their name on most public and private records in the UK, including driving license, passport, and work documents. The only things that are more difficult to alter are your birth certificate, any criminal records you may have and the gender marker on any HMRC or tax forms. This is where an enrolled deed poll will come into play. You can use it to change these records and inform your employer of the name change.

How can i change my child’s name?

If your child is over 18, they will need to apply for an enrolled deed poll themselves. However, if they are under the age of 18, you can make an unenrolled deed poll using the assistance of a lawyer, or you can apply for this through the Royal Courts of Justice.

frequently asked qUESTIONS

CAN I DO it alone?

Whilst it is possible for you to complete an unenrolled deed poll yourself, we’ll always advise that you seek legal assistance with your application. Without the appropriate legal advice, you risk making mistakes in your application.

Who can witness it?
When signing your deed poll, you’ll need to sign with both your new name and signature, as well as your old name and signature. You will also need to have a witness present. This person will need to:

-Be of sound mental capacity
-Over the age of 18 and a UK citizen
-Not be a relative, partner or friend

How long will it take?
Changing your name by deed poll can take anywhere between 1-3 months, depending entirely on how long it takes to get a response from the various organisations that you are trying to contact.
How much will it cost?
The cost of a deed poll will vary from firm to firm, although most of our partners will charge around £150+VAT. No matter the cost of the deed poll, you will always have to pay an additional fee of £42.44 to the Royal Courts of Justice so that your new name can be put on public record.
I'm getting divorced: what do i need to do?
Those reassigning their gender can change their name on most public and private records in the UK, including driving license, passport, and work documents. The only things that are more difficult to alter are your birth certificate, any criminal records you may have and the gender marker on any HMRC or tax forms. This is where an enrolled deed poll will come into play. You can use your deed poll to change these records and inform your name change employer.
what is the difference between a deed poll and a statutory declaration?
While a deed poll is a document that goes alongside other documents, a statutory declaration is a formal statement that affirms that confirms the truth and validity of another document, which has to be signed in the presence.

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