Change of Name for Adults
Changing your name as an adult is relatively simple, and there are various ways in which you can achieve this. It is not so straight forward in relation to children, however, and we refer you to our web page for more on this subject.
In England and Wales, any adult can legally change their name simply by assuming the new name and using it (providing that they do not do so with the intention of undertaking some fraudulent act). There is no legal requirement , nor procedure, which you need to undertake.
Having said that, there are various ways in which you can evidence the fact that you have changed your name, and certain official bodies (passport office, member of a profession etc.) will require you to evidence your change of name by Deed Poll.
Deed Poll is the most common way of evidencing a change of name. The document has to be executed, and witnessed.
It is possible to enrol the Deed Poll in the General Office of the Supreme Court. Such enrolment does not make the change of name any more legally effective than were it not enrolled, but it does ensure the safe custody of the Deed. There is no time limit for enrolment.
You can change a name evidenced by Deed Poll again by a second deed, and there is no limit as to how many times you change your name.
In order to enrol the Deed you have to meet certain conditions, such as being a Commonwealth citizen, and producing certain documentation in support of your status in certain circumstances.
Although by far the most common, Deed Poll is not the only way to evidence the change of name.
- You can do so by advertising the change in the local or National newspaper, renouncing your old name and recording that you now assume the new. Often such advertisement is placed in the London Gazette.
- Statutory Declaration, setting out the intention to adopt and assume a new name and to relinquish the old.
- Notarial Instrument. If the change is to be recognised worldwide, then you can effect a change of name by having a notary public prepare a statuary declaration. The Notary takes the declaration, and authenticates it, and will then record it in a register.
- Marriage. It is usual, though by no means essential, for a woman to assume her husband’s surname on marriage.
- Confirmation. A Christian name given to a child at baptism may be changed at confirmation.
- By Royal Licence. It is essential to change a name this way if a family intends to assume the Coat of Arms of another. Application must be made to the College of Arms for a petition to be drawn up, and the application is submitted through the Secretary of State for the Home Department to the Sovereign.
Various Professional Bodies have their own requirements as to how a change of name is to be recorded. Solicitors for example, need to apply to change their name on the Roll, although no prescribed procedure is now set out. Similarly Veterinary Surgeons, Medical Practitioners, Opticians, Dentists, Nurses, Midwives, Accountants, Architects, to name a few, all have their own procedural requirements as laid down by their professional bodies, and you should enquire of you own professional body to ascertain what their requirements are if you are one to whom such rules may apply.