There are several reasons why you might want to change your name. You might want the same surname as your partner but you aren't married, you might have recently got divorced or you might just fancy a change!
While technically your name is legally established just by using it, in order to update your passport, driving license or other official documents, you'll need a formal document that proves you have changed your name and when this occurred.
This formal document is what is called a 'deed poll.' There are two ways of going about getting a deed poll. These include:
An 'unenrolled' deed poll
Free of charge, this is where you essentially make your own deed poll by using certain wording.
You can then use this as proof of your new name although some organisations such as the bank won't accept this and will instead ask for an enrolled deed poll. You'll also need an enrolled deed poll to change the name on official documents such as your passport or driving licence.
There are a number of Deed Poll Providers (such as NameSwitch) who can prepare your Deed Polls for you and they do not need to be enrolled. Price-wise, it's about the same or even a less than going down the government Enrolment route and is normally much quicker.
All Deed Polls provided by specialists and indeed solicitors are accepted as documentary evidence by all government bodies and companies when you request a name change.
How to make your own deed poll
To make your own deed poll, you should use the following wording:
“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]”
After you’ve made it, you can use your deed poll as proof of your new name.
An 'enrolled' deed poll
By opting for an enrolled deed poll, you are putting your new name on public record.
To do this, you must apply to the Royal Courts of Justice where you will need to fill out the relevant forms.
There are different rules for changing your name in Scotland.
How much is it to change your name?
It costs £42.44 to change your name by ‘enrolling’ it at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Changing your name when you get married
If you get married and want to take your partner's surname, you don't need to do a deed poll.
A marriage certificate entitles couples to take one another or double barrels their surnames together, in whichever order, with or without a hyphen. It does not entitle them to add/remove/alter a middle name.
Changing your name is a free service provided by almost all companies and government bodies although they all have their own processes. The only Government body to charge you to change your name is HM Passport Office and you will have to apply for a new passport. A handful of insurance companies may charge you an admin fee to change your name.
Simply send a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate to wherever you want your name changed such as the bank, DVLA etc and your documents will be updated for free.
This can be a lengthy process but NameSwitch can make this much easier. Digital Writer Emily Gilbert tried it out: "I was dreading sitting down and having to go through the rigmarole of changing everything to my married name but then found NameSwitch. You fill out a few personal details, select all the companies you want your name to be changed at and then NameSwitch provide personalised letters and forms, ready for you to sign and send off. While the documents are also available in an online portal, I went for the print option which meant I didn't even need to print everything myself. I was really impressed with the accompanying document which talked me through exactly what I needed to do, what to send and where to send it. Changing my surname has been such an easy and straightforward process thanks to NameSwitch and I'll be recommending them to everyone I know who is getting married!"
If you are planning to mesh names/create a brand new name, or make a change to a first or middle name then a deed poll is required. Find out more.