There are countless reasons why you may want to change your name officially. Many people choose to assume a different name after marriage, create a double barrelled surname or simply fancy starting a fresh. Regardless of the reason or motive behind it, changing your name is a huge deal and a big step to take.
The name change process is notoriously confusing and somewhat daunting if you're just starting out. One of the most common questions posed is "do I need a deed poll?" and unfortunately there's no straightforward, catch-all answer. Every situation is different and sometimes a deed poll isn't necessary.
When a Deed Poll is Needed
Lets take a look at the situations that do not require a deed poll change of name declaration. You will NOT need a deed poll if you are;
Changing your title after marriage (i.e. becoming Mrs)
Shortening your forename unofficially (Being known as Tom rather than Thomas)
Reverting to your maiden name after a divorce
Double barrelling (When combining surnames without a hyphen (i.e. Smith-Price)
Now that we've established the circumstances in which you would not normally need a deed poll, we can take a look at those which do.
You WILL need a deed poll if you are;
Changing your first name
Changing your last name
Changing or adding a middle name (Including adding your maiden name as a middle name)
Substituting your middle name for your first name (or vice versa)
Assuming a new name after gender reassignment surgery
Combining a married surname with a maiden name
Assuming a totally new name (other than your maiden name) after divorce
Combining surnames on marriage to create a totally new surname
Where it Can be Complicated
Its not always straightforward. Whilst we have highlighted when you will and will not need a deed poll into two lists above, its not necessarily so black and white in the real world.
Assuming your Partners Name (Gay Males)
Whilst government bodies such as HM Passport Office and the DVLA will recognise the adoption of your partners name upon receipt of a marriage or civil partnership certificate, this isn't necessarily the case for the private sector. Many banks, building societies and lenders are behind the times in this respect. We have found that they often refuse to update records without a deed poll. Not to worry though, if HM Passport Office has already updated your passport this will provide you with very helpful supporting evidence.
If you experience any difficulty in effecting your name change after your marriage or civil partnership please do not hesitate to contact our helpful team who are online 24/7 to support you through the process.
Reverting to your Maiden Name Before your Divorce is Finalised
As we have already discussed you don't need a deed poll declaration to revert back to your maiden name after a divorce (This can be achieved by a decree absolute). If however, you decide you wish to revert to your maiden name before your divorce has been finalised you will likely run into trouble.
The law is clear in that you can legally revert to your maiden name at any time, however HM Passport Office, the DVLA and almost all financial institutions will require legally recognised documents supporting the change.
If you still wish to change your surname or revert back to your maiden name before your divorce has been finalised we would suggest that you obtain a deed poll as legal proof of the change. A deed poll change of name declaration will be accepted by your Bank, the Passport Office and the DVLA regardless of the status of your divorce.
Taking the next step...
The UK Deed Poll Service is the UK's biggest and best deed poll specialist. We have produced over a million change of name declarations and certified copies, for hundreds of thousands of customers. Our staff are online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week helping our clients negotiate the name change process and providing free impartial advice. Whether you choose to apply for a deed poll with ourselves or not, feel free to contact us using the online chat function should you have any questions or concerns.