Our clients will often wish to change their name following a separation or divorce. Normally, this will be to revert to a maiden name. Frequently, clients will ask for a “deed poll”. However, this will not always be necessary.
1. You can start using a new name without any formal documentation. For many organisations, a simple letter saying that you wish to be known by a new name will be sufficient. Tell your friends and family of the new name and, of course, update your social media accounts!
2. Some official bodies and banks will require more formal proof of your change of name. However, if you are already divorced and wish to revert to your maiden name then you do not need to do anything further. When you have received your decree absolute, a copy of this and your marriage certificate should be sufficient.
3. If you have not yet received your decree absolute, or are changing your name for another reason, then you may need to evidence your change your name by “deed poll”. We will arrange a deed poll for any of our existing clients upon request.
For non clients, there are many websites offering this service for a fee. Alternatively, it is relatively straightforward to create your own deed, using 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]”
Please note that this process cannot be used to change the name on a birth certificate.
4. A Deed Poll can be “enrolled” at the Royal Courts of Justice for an additional fee. However, this does not affect the validity of the Deed Poll and is not normally required.
5. A final caveat is that while a person is free to choose any new name, that change will not be legally recognised if the purpose is to defraud or avoid liabilities. So a person cannot escape their debt by changing their name.
If you are interested in the process for changing a child’s name, please see our earlier blog on the subject.