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Deed Poll Helpline

A comprehensive guide to changing

your name by Deed Poll in the UK

About Deed Polls

Changing Your Name

Reasons for a Name Change


What is a Deed Poll?


Time Saving Tip: The quickest and easiest way to change your name in the UK is to

Apply For Your Deed Poll Online.


In order for somebody to change their name and have their records updated, a form of documentary evidence is required. A Deed Poll document provides such evidence.

A Deed Poll is a legal document that binds a single party to a particular course of action. Strictly speaking, it is not a legal contract as it only applies to one party.

The most common use of a Deed Poll in the UK is to change a persons' name. This type of deed is more formally called a Deed of Change of Name or sometimes referred to as a Change of Name Deed.


Executing a Deed Poll

When a person receives their Deed Poll they must 'execute it'. This means that they have to sign it and have this signing witnessed.

Upon signing a Deed of Change of Name a person commits themselves to the following actions:

  • To renounce, relinquish and abandon the use of their former name
  • To use their new name at all times
  • To require everybody to address them only by their new name

When a person wishing to change their name signs their Deed Poll document they must do so in the presence of a witness. There are certain requirements which the witness must meet. This witness must:

  • Be at least 18 years old

  • Live at a different address

  • Be known to the person but be independent of them, therefore not a family member

  • Have the ability to speak, read, and understand English.

When a legal guardian changes a child's name they must ensure that all those holding parental responsibility for the child give their consent for the name change, else it can be reversed. Legal guardian(s) will sign the Deed Poll on behalf of the child along with a witness.


Updating records to show your new name

It is a common misconception that once a Deed Poll document has been executed (signed and witnessed) a persons name has immediately been changed. In reality a Deed Poll document is simply a means to an end.  The way in which a Deed Poll does change a personís name is that it is sent out to record holders and provides documentary evidence enabling departments to make necessary amendments.

Only when organisations have been notified of a name change, and they have updated their records accordingly, has a person really changed their name. Prior to this, a person is still operating under their previous name and so no change has happened.

Therefore, if a person signed their Deed Poll, and then reconsidered and decided against the name change, they could simply dispose of the document. Provided they had not had any of their records updated into a different name, no harm would be done, and they could continue using their original name.


Where does the term 'Deed Poll' come from?

The term 'Deed Poll' comes from the word 'Deed' and the old English word 'Poll'. A 'deed' is a signed and usually sealed legal instrument in writing. Poll is a legal term used to describe a document that has had it's edges cut or 'polled'. This kind of straight edged documents distinguished deeds binding only one party.


Time Saving Tip: The quickest and easiest way to change your name in the UK is to

Apply For Your Deed Poll Online.



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