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How To Change Your Name in the UK By Deed Poll


Deed Poll by Magnus D

The astute of you may have realized that Ron Malibu is actually what the French call coconut flavoured bacardi. The origins of my pseudonym can be traced to a bar in a war torn province of Mexico. The area was theoretically safe. The Americans had invaded a decade before, and were still occupying the beach town in the name of stability. And tourism.

It was late at night at the hotel bar, and my drinking partner had decided to hit the hay. Her sudden absence left me staring at the cocktail menu, and that’s when I met Ron Malibu. What’s in a name? I guess back then I was solving my problems with booze, though if I’m honest, they weren’t really problems – just opportunities waiting to be drunk through.

I find it really hard to drink now that I’m a father, what with the little people crawling into bed at 4am with their insatiable demands no matter how hungover I am. If I’d have written that sentence ten years ago, there would be a totally different story to tell. So if I have a drinking problem now, it’s that I’m a two pint screamer rather than the three dart rhino of yore.

Regardless, I have changed names a few times since first meeting Ron Malibu, but that’s a story for my memoir.

Now that I have two passports, and three different names, I’m anxious to simplify my life. I’ve had my liberty taken away from me in too many immigration posts to perpetuate the complexity. If I’m going to have all of this diabolical liberty, it might as well be capable of not arousing suspicions of money laundering as I move between nations. Heck, one day I might generate a huge amount of money and want to access it from overseas. So I looked into name changing, and this is what I found.

How to Change Your Name in the UK

It appears to be brutally simple – even the UK government page on changing your name by deed poll says so. You fill in a piece of paper. Get an acquaintance to sign it. Then carry it around with you. As long as you don’t want to change your name to Lord Such-and-Such, or double-barrel it  [<– see what I did there?] your name after marriage. That’s a little bit harder allegedly, as is just changing your first name.

As for changing your name to Duke Bacardi T*ts, that’s a no-no. You could ask Screaming Lord Sutch about that. Well you could, except he hung himself in 1999 – no doubt because he couldn’t legally change his name to “Lord” given that he had no relation to the peerage apart from being friends with Cynthia Payne, who was quite a madam.

According to UK law, you can change your name as often as you like, for whatever reason you like, as long as you’re not trying to commit fraud. So changing your name to Tony Blair is acceptable (to some), but not if you’re going to try to get off with Cherie in the dark without her knowing. Actually, I don’t think that’s fraud – that’s something else. As well as gross.

What is a Deed Poll?

A Deed Poll is just a piece of paper – it’s like a contract where only one party agrees. A declaration if you will. You can use a Deed Poll to change your name in the UK – it’s a legal document.

How Do I Make a Deed Poll To Change My Name in the UK?

If you’re going to make your own, use fancy paper so that people actually believe it. You could use services of the popular search engine result which I shalln’t mention here so as not to give it additional credence, and get them to do it for you at a cost. They claim to be a dot org (commerce free organization) but clearly charge you money for the chance to mail you a piece of fancy paper.

You could get a solicitor to do it for you. But really, given that this is the internet, let’s find some way of doing this for free. That’s coming up.

Should I Use a Statutory Declaration to Change My Name?

Probably not. Use a deed poll like everyone else.

Should I Enroll My Name Change With The Official Central Database of UK Names?

There is no central database of names in the UK. There are legions of people in different official organizations who may or may not talk to each other. The degree of information sharing between these bodies depends on how inconvenient for you it would be if they did.

You don’t need to register your new name with anyone. But you can go down to the Royal Courts of Justice and do so if you please. It’s an excuse to go to the Strand, and I hear that the afternoon tea at the Strand Palace Hotel is worth a go, so maybe you could make a half day of it. Part of the Royal Courts of Justice process has you advertising your name change in the London Gazette, so you would need to pay over a ton (four ponies) for the privilege.

Some of the things you’ll need if you decide to register with the Royal Courts of Justice are:

  1. permission from your spouse if you’re married
  2. permission from everyone if you’re under 18
  3. a declaration from a British citizen who has known you for 10 years, isn’t related, and has a UK address for a home they own

It’s interesting that they discriminate against renters – I guess they want to choose someone who is a slave to the property ladder, (or property helter skelter as it sometimes becomes) so that they know where they live, and have the opportunity to hunt them down at their home if necessary.

How Much Does it Cost To Change Your Name By Deed Poll?

It might cost as much as nothing if you DIY it. If you start hiring solicitors your mileage may vary. Telling the London Gazette costs £102 for the name change enrollment. I really like this wizard site that allows you to create a name change deed poll for FREE. All it costs is the price of printing. I don’t know Scatman Dan Q, but he seems like a good egg.

To legally change your name, it’s a matter of just deciding one day and filling in a random piece of paper. Yep, that’s it. So I repeat:

  1. Ignore all of the ads for Deed Poll registration services, unless you’re lazy or want the security of paying a solicitor to do the work for you.
  2. Download or make up your own form
  3. Get a grown up to sign it. A grown up with a house. A grown up that isn’t a relative.
  4. Tell everyone you did it.

What Words Need To Be on the Name Change Deed Poll?

There’s a wikipedia article on the wording of the deed of name change wording, but I would recommend just using the Scatman’s free service to spit out a template. It could be as simple as:

I change my name from Ron Malibu to Coconut Starkiller on January 16th 2014, signed as a deed by Ron and Coconut, and I’ll stop calling myself Ron from now, and these two good fine and upstanding citizens witnessed me do it. And I was sober. And we live at these three places.

Please, if the extent of your research into name changing is solely this page, I urge you to at least change out Coconut Starkiller, in case you ever get put on the sex offenders registry with my new name. Apparently if you’re on that list, it’s a bit harder to change your name for hopefully obvious reasons. And if you were, I’d like to change my name, and you might mess up my chances.

Who Do You Need To Notify After You Change Your Name

You might want to tell your friends, if they’re good friends at any rate. Don’t tell the kind of friends who you don’t give your new address to when you move.

  1. Tell Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs using the handy HMRC change of circumstances form. Once you tell them, they’ll tell the Government Gateway, PAYE people, National Insurance, the Student Loan people and a few other entities. So if you pay child support, they’ll know about your new name.
  2. The Passport people. If you get yourself a biometric passport, not only will they be able to track everything you’ve ever thought about and create clones of you if you become unruly and they want to replace you, but you can then use the number on this.
  3. The Driver Vehicle  Licensing Authority DVLA. They will want a valid passport, to know where you’ve lived for the last three years, and be a UK resident. Only UK residents can apply for UK Drivers Licences, so that’s pretty self-explanatory. Otherwise, people in Chad would be applying for foreign licenses so that they wouldn’t get any points on their Chad licenses. You can apply online with the DVLA, or send in a paper form. If you have a photocard license, you can fill in the changes portion of the paper counterpart and mail it in. Probably easiest, but takes three weeks. You’ll have to use your Chad license in the mean time.
  4. The Land Registry if you own any property. You can update the Land Registry for free using the form AP1, and presenting a Deed Poll and a certified copy of it, and evidence of identity (such as a Drivers Licence).
  5. The Electoral Roll – so that you can vote and prove where you live and such. Again you can register online with your new name after you change it.
  6. The TV Licensing people – you can let them know about the new you and your desire to watch television at your current address at their site.
  7. Your Local Authority. How could you possibly pay for your council tax if they didn’t know your name?
  8. Your doctor and dentist  so that they can update their records and also those of the NHS.
  9. Any other Record Holders who use your old name. These are banks, financial institutions, mortgage lenders, utility companies, insurance companies, investment companies, any institutions you hold shares in, the National Savings and Investments office (for Premium Bonds).
  10. Everyone you know. One of the deals with the Deed Poll is that you’re effectively abandoning your old name and agreeing that everyone should use only your new name.

Oh, and to wrap things up – the bar in which I got my new name was in Cancun. What a hell hole. I hear the Septics are still occupying it.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • John B 2014/01/22, 16:31

    Thanks – just followed your advice for the free form. Printed it off, took it to the pub and got two signatures, job done.

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