Your name can be changed at any point in your life, for any reason, provided it is not to defraud or deceive another person. To change a name, there is not a legal procedure to follow; you simply just start by using your new name. Forenames and surnames can be changed, along with the adding or re-arranging of existing names.
Although to change your name there are no legal requirements, evidence that you have done this is available. Applying for a passport needs evidence for any name changes for example. This evidence can be a letter from a responsible person, a public announcement, a statutory declaration or a deed poll. A child’s name can be changed also, again with no legal procedure.
A letter from a responsible person such as a solicitor, your GP, a priest or MP will often be enough evidence that you have changed your name. The letter needs to state that the person has known you by both names, and that the change of name is to be used for all purposes. A letter will not be enough to apply for a UK passport.
An advertisement in a local or national newspaper can be used. This is called a public announcement. A copy of this advertisement can be used as evidence that your name has been changed.
A statutory declaration is accepted as evidence. This is a statement recording your intention to get rid of your old name and use a new one. A statutory declaration can be prepared by you or by a solicitor.
A deed poll is a formal statement to prove that your name has been changed. This is needed when applying for a UK passport. As a child or young person under the age of 18, you can only have your name change recorded by deed poll by a person who has parental responsibility for you. Your consent can be given if over the age of 16. if you prepare your own deed poll it must be signed in the presence of an independent witness, and you will need two of these if you want to have your deed poll enrolled. Solicitors can help with preparing a deed poll. This is advisable, especially if you want to register the deed poll.
Legal proceedings, driving licenses, passports: Your new name can be used for anything!
Faye Remnant is part of our Family Law team based in Loughborough; our Solicitors in Loughborough are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Loughborough please contact us.
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The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.