Do I need a Deed Poll?
In general, if you decide that you want to start using another name, and would like official documents such as your passport updated, you will need to use a Deed Poll. However, there are times when a Deed Poll document will not be necessary. Further information can be found below.
Name change upon Marriage or Civil Partnership
When a woman decides to take her husbands name upon marriage her marriage certificate will be accepted as documentary evidence of the name change. Likewise, upon forming a civil partnership if a couple wish to operate under the same surname the civil partnership certificate can be used. Obviously a covering letter would be necessary to point out which partners surname was going to be used.
If a couple decide upon a less traditional name change, for example a man taking his wife's surname or a couple meshing their surnames, a Deed Poll document twill be required. Further information on name change upon marriage or civil partnership can be found in our section on Marital Rights.
Name change upon Divorce
If a woman has taken her husbands surname upon marriage, following a divorce she may choose to revert to her maiden name. In order to do so she can use her decree absolute to send off to organisations to inform them of her name change. This should be accepted by all departments including the Identity and Passport Office. A Deed Poll document will not be necessary.
However if a woman decides to change her name before the divorce is finalised she can do so through the use of a Deed Poll. This would not affect any divorce proceedings that may take place in the future. Further advice can be found in our Marital Rights section.
Name change upon Separation
Women who adopt their spouse's surname upon marriage may wish to start using their maiden name upon separation. In order to do so a Deed Poll document will be necessary. This will provide sufficient documentary evidence of a change of name to all departments and organisations. Changing your surname upon separation will not affect any subsequent divorce proceedings.
Changing a child's name upon Adoption
Adoptive parents often wish to change their child's surname to that of their own. This makes it easier for them to start operating as family unit. To do so the adoption certificate can be presented to organisations that need to be notified of the child's name change who will then amend their records accordingly.
A Deed Poll document is not required unless the family wish to change their child's forenames, or make other changes after the initial one.
Name change upon becoming widowed
A woman can revert to her maiden name upon being widowed without the need for a Deed Poll. Her husbands death certificate, along with her marriage certificate (which will show her maiden name), should be accepted as documentary evidence that her name has changed. Upon presentation of such certificates, organisations and departments will amend their records to show the new surname.
Name change by Usage
It is still possible to change your name simply by starting to use a new one. This is accomplished by using the chosen name consistently in all aspects of your life so that it becomes the name that you are known by when dealing with others.
As straightforward as this possibility first appears, problems inevitably arise further on down the line. For example, it is impossible to change your name on your passport. The Identity and Passport Service refuse to update records without first being provided with documentary evidence to prove such a name change. Banks, building societies and the like, are equally unlikely to amend your details.
Operating under more than one name is bound to cause confusion, and misunderstandings are inevitable. For such reasons, name change through usage is an unpopular choice and most find that the more traditional option of executing a Deed Poll is far simpler in the long run. By use of a Deed Poll all of your records can be updated quickly and easily allowing you to operate under your new name in all areas of your personal, social and business life.
Name change for any other reason
If you are changing your name for any reason other than those mentioned above you will almost certainly need to use a Deed Poll if you would like to update official records. You may choose to change forenames, surnames, and middle names or even want to add or remove names. You can also rearrange current forenames and alter spellings.
To change your name...
- Fill in our online application form
- Receive your Deed Poll in the post
- Sign and date your Deed Poll
- Update records into your new name
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