Legal information for helping you to change your Surname in United Kingdom (U.K).
Are you interested in becoming one of the 58,000 people that change their name in the UK each year? If so, it is important you take the time to read the appropriate steps and actions required to make it official and legal.
You firstly need to attain a legal document known as a ‘Deed Poll’ (Deed of Change of Name) which acts as proof of a name change. This document can be provided to all appropriate bodies in the same way as a Marriage Certificate for newly married women.
A Deed Poll is a form of Legal contract but only relates to one person (differing from the traditional contracts that require two). It is legally accepted by all organisations, companies and bodies within the UK and British Embassies across the world.
There are now literally hundreds of websites and organisations offering to supply Deed Poll documentation (www.Deedpoll.org.uk is the most popular). In the age of convenience changing a name can take a few clicks of a button. Alternatively you can visit the place where your records are held (usually City Hall or Chambers) and request the change directly.
In order to attain this documentation, you may be asked to prove that you do not intend to commit a crime such as fraud by changing your name. On a similar thread, if you have been declared bankrupt it is essential that your previous name is made known. Deed Polls can be created at home on the condition they are acceptable to relevant agencies. When documentation is received it requires to be signed by a witness such as:
- A Friend
- Work Colleague
- Respected Member of the community
Who do I need to notify of a name change?
As with a change of address, there are a number of important bodies you legally must contact when you change your name. These include:
- Passport – this is the only item that will result in charge (£77.50)
- Driving Licence
- Bank Accounts (including Credit Cards)
- Medical Records
- Council Tax
- Mortgage Provider
- Utility Provider
The list is almost inexhaustible so it is recommended to create a personal check list in order to inform all parties.
Although most names are acceptable there are basic criteria you should consider before submitting to changing your name. You may not use symbols, vulgar language, academic qualification (without relevant proof) or a group of letters that cannot be pronounced.
Please note that you need to be at least 16 to change your name. If you are a minor, the legal responsibility falls with parent or guardian.
When applying to change your name it is important that you have key information available – copy of your birth Certificate and proof of current name.
If you are applying to change your name and live abroad, please contact your local Embassy for details on how to correctly proceed.