Changing Your Name (UK)

J and I have decided that since he is not keen on the idea of marriage (family and friend experiences being the reason I believe), we are going to officially and via deed poll change our surnames to match.

I am SO excited by this. I think many young women do imagine they will gain a different surname on marriage simply through traditions, but I never realised how much I wanted to share a surname until J had a very different idea about it all. Since I am now 23 weeks (and a bit!) pregnant, I have contacted a solicitor to go over the practicalities, the difference between an enrolled and an unenrolled deed poll name change, and crucially, the costs.

Because changing your name by deed poll (or otherwise, I’ll explain more!) is actually kind of confusing here in the UK, what with the three main ways to do so, and the puzzling reasons for doing any of them, I’ve decided to do a breakdown here of them so if anyone else is looking for info on Ways to Legally Change Name in the UK, this part is for you.

Three Ways to Legally Change Your Name in the UK

Just Change It

Legally, you don’t need to create a deed poll or declare anything to anyone to start using a new name. As long as you aren’t using it to defraud anyone, this is fine! Go ahead, change Facebook right now.

Pros ✅
  • You can do it yourself, no document or legal anything required.
  • Super quick and easy!
  • Totally legit and legal to do this.
Cons ❌
  • No legal backing
  • All your legal and official documents must still have your ‘old’ name, as it is legally still your name.
  • People can refuse to refer to you as your new name, although RUDE.

Unenrolled Deed Poll

Unenrolled means it isn’t on public record that you’ve changed names, i.e. birth certificate or NI. But you can use a document which is kinda official to notify companies and start using the new name.

Pros ✅
  • Can be done yourself, using a template for a name change online, but best done through a solicitor or else some companies may question you.
  • Cheaper than the enrolled deed poll.
Cons ❌
  • Some official things need a solicitor to ‘sign off’ your name change deed in order to accept this.
  • When applying for things, you may have to supply your original name documentation.

Enrolled Deed Poll

Enrolling in the High Courts and publicising in the London Gazette means you legally ‘disown’ your old name (except in circumstances where places may ask if you’ve been named something else previously).

Pros ✅
  • Everyone accepts the new name and has to use it.
  • You have plenty of documentation to prove and show this is now your only name.
Cons ❌
  • You have to inform everyone of the name change. Except I suppose… mailing lists on shop websites or anything non-legal.
  • Get ready to photocopy and send out lots of letters informing everyone!

I am not going to reveal my new or old name here, but it’s safe enough to tell you we have decided to double barrel ours.

J had a different birth surname due to being ‘adopted’ by his stepfather when he was around 5 years old due to his Mum’s marriage, and wants to return to his original name. This original surname we will combine with mine, so I get to keep my name too!

I am simply overwhelmed by how excited and happy this makes me. We can share a surname, thereby claiming each other as family, and have a child with the same surname as us both. This is all I asked for.

[Is it just me or do double-barrelled surnames still feel slightly grander?]

We decided to change our name via an unenrolled deed poll, not at the High Courts or publicised in the London Gazette, because this is what the solicitor recommended. Because this process involves paperwork and crucially getting things accurate, we decided to call a local solicitor and get their help to make it official.

The costs were under £200.00 for both of us, including the solicitor’s fee of course, and this official change will be complete as soon as the paperwork is signed!

Now I just have to get my list of companies to contact ready… ugh.

Published by Sharnie

Student biologist, aspiring embryologist, blogger and animal lover.

One thought on “Changing Your Name (UK)

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