Legally Changing Your Name

Are you happy with your name?  If not, this simple guide explains how you can do something about it.  Whether you would like a change of surname, to add or remove a middle name, a change of spelling or a completely new set of names, we at Backhouse Solicitors can help.

Did you know that you can simply change your name and start using it straight away without the need for a legal document?  If however you wish your new name to appear on official documents such as a driving licence or passport it will have to be “authenticated”.

If your new name has been in use unofficially for some time, all that is required is a Statutory Declaration which is normally signed in the presence of a solicitor.  If however you have only recently changed your name and want to make it official straight away, you will require a Change of Name Deed, often known colloquially as a Deed Poll.

In 2015, some 85,000 people in the UK changed their name by deed poll and the process is easier than you may think.  Regardless of whether you require a Statutory Declaration or a Change of Name Deed you can simply visit us at Backhouse Solicitors and we will prepare the required documents for you.  We will need to see proof of identification (usually your current passport or driver’s licence) and proof of address (usually a utility bill dated within the last 3 months).

Names that you can’t use

When you are choosing your new name, you need to be aware that there are certain restrictions when changing your name by deed poll.  For example you cannot use:

  • Numbers or symbols
  • Any names that are blasphemous, promote criminal activity or promote racial or religious hatred
  • First names that infer you have a title, rank or certain level of education for example Doctor, Dame or Captain
  • Punctuation marks that do not have a phonetic significance, but you can use a hyphen for a double-barrelled name or an apostrophe in the case of surnames such as O’Sullivan

A few things to note

From an administrative viewpoint, there are a few more rules:

  • You don’t need a deed poll to change your surname after marriage or civil partnership
  • You must be aged 18 or over to change your name by deed poll
  • A parent wishing to change the name of their child (under the age of 18) will, in most cases, require the consent of the other parent unless a court order has been granted

So, in summary the process of changing your name is quite straightforward and very quick.  If you are considering changing your name, or perhaps you have already done so and simply wish to make it official, then our expert Solicitors can take you through the process and in most cases can prepare the legal documentation while you wait.  For more information and to book an appointment, contact our customer service team today.

Tel:      01245 893400

Email:  [email protected]


Or simply drop into our offices at 17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JU