There are many reasons why you may want to legally change your name. It may be that you wish to legally change your name by marriage or civil partnership, or after a divorce. Maybe you simply don’t like your name and want to change it. Whatever your reason, we’ve outlined below the ways you can legally change your name.

Option 1 – Just call yourself something else!

The law of England and Wales does not require adults to follow any procedure in order to legally change their names. You can call yourself whatever you want, as long as you are not doing it to defraud anyone. There is nothing wrong with doing this, from a legal point of view, but it does cause some practical difficulties. You may find that organisations are unwilling to accept that your name has changed without some evidence in writing.

Option 2 - Change Your Marital Status

You don’t need a deed poll to take your partner’s surname. Your marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, decree absolute or dissolution of civil partnership certificate will usually be accepted as evidence that your name has changed. Organisations may ask to see the document alongside your birth certificate.

You are not obliged to change your name when your marital status changes, and you can continue to use your original name if you wish. Similarly, you aren’t obliged to get married in order to change your name - you can change your name by deed poll instead of getting married.

Option 3 -Statutory Declaration/Affidavit

A Statutory Declaration/Affidavit is a specifically worded document sworn in the presence of a Solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths. If you are thinking of using this method to change your name, you should first enquire whether this format will be accepted with the institutions you wish to present the document to.

Unlike a Deed Pool (which can be enrolled) a Statutory Declaration/Affidavit does not provide an official record of the change of name so may not be as widely accepted.

Option 4- Deed Poll

This method uses a formal Deed which must be in writing, signed you and witnessed by two independent persons.

Unenrolled Deed Poll

This is the most commonly used and effective way to change your name. It is a legal document proving your change of name which can be used as evidence of your new title. This will be required by most financial institutions and government offices.

You must be 16 or over to enter into a Deed Poll (but you have to be 18 or over to enrol the Deed Poll).

Enrolled Deed Poll

Enrolling a Deed Poll is not a legal requirement but may be a requirement by some financial institutions or government offices in order for them to accept your Deed Poll. Enrolling a Deed Poll means that your change of name becomes a public record.

You must be 18 or over to enrol your Deed Poll.

If you are 16-17 then your Deed Poll can be enrolled by all the adults who have parental responsibility for the child.

When making your Deed Poll, if you intend to enrol it, you must indicate this at the onset as specific wording will be required in the Deed Poll if it is to be enrolled, in order to satisfy the requirements of the Courts.

The enrolment process

In order to enrol your Deed Poll you will require:

  • A validly executed Deed Poll;
  • A sworn Statutory Declaration from someone who has known you for a minimum of 10 years, is not related to you or your partner/spouse, is a home owner and is a Commonwealth or British Citizen;
  • An Application Notice to be placed in the London Gazette

Changing the name of a child aged 15 and under

This will require each person who has parental responsibility for a child to make the Deed Poll on behalf of the child. Children aged 15 and under cannot make their own Deed Poll.

Enrolment is not a legal requirement however it is recommended.

In order to enrol a Deed Poll for child aged under 18 you will require:

  • A validly executed Deed Poll;
  • An Affidavit of Best Interest;
  • A sworn Statutory Declaration for a Minor;
  • An Application Notice to be placed in the London Gazette

 

In all cases for children under 18, If all persons with parental responsibility do not agree about the change of name then an application may be made to the Family courts for permission. However, this is a Family Law matter and you should speak to a Family Law Solicitor about this.

Solicitors can assist you in the preparation of a Deed Poll and the enrolment process


Fixed fees will be charged for the preparation of a Deed Poll. Additional fees will be charged for the preparation of Statutory Declarations, Affidavits and London Gazette notices to accompany the enrolment application. In addition to fees there will be disbursements of £36.00 to be paid to the Court to enrol a Deed Poll.

If you require assistance with the preparation and execution of a Deed Poll, please contact BBH Legal Services on 0151 326 2340 or info@bbhlegal.co.uk.


THIS FACT SHEET IS INTENDED AS A GENERAL STATEMENT OF THE PROCEDURE AND DOES NOT PURPORT TO RENDER SPECIFIC ADVICE, LEGAL OR OTHERWISE. SPECIFIC ADVICE ON A PARTICULAR PROBLEM SHOULD ALWAYS BE SOUGHT.

Last updated: 11/03/2020