We find that we are asked on an almost daily basis “which Deed Poll website is the official one?”. This question arises because many people assume that changing their name ‘by deed poll’ is something they would do through an official Government Department or website of. Such an assumption seems to tie in with the belief that name changes are registered somewhere, i.e on a Government database, and that an official certificate is then issued.
All of which is totally incorrect, although given the amount of misinformation on the Internet, it is understandable that people are often confused by the process of changing their name.
To appreciate why this is incorrect it is important to understand that in England and Wales there isn’t a formal process one must follow in order to change their name. In fact, to change ones name, you simply start using a different one! Which may sound surprising, but in fact that’s just how simple it is.
But although it is perfectly legal to simply start using a new name (providing it’s not for fraudulent or deceptive purposes), these days Government Departments i.e. the Passport Office or DVLA will not accept that you are using a new name unless you provide some form of written evidence. Which can be in the form a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration document, marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate. Although the later two will only allow couples to change their surnames to that of the other partner. Whereas a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration can be used to evidence a change to any part, or all of ones name.
So a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration, which are both kinds of legal document (not certificate) are mere written statements of a person’s intention to use a new name. As legal documents, they can be written by any competent person, company, organisation or law firm. And to be considered ‘valid’, i.e. acceptable to Government Departments they just need to be written, formatted and signed in accordance with the current, applicable rules of law.
As a Trading Standards Approved company we have an obligation to be honest and upfront about who we are, and what we provide. Which is why you won’t find our website using words and phrases such as ‘Official Seal’, ‘Deed Poll Officer’, ‘Official Deed’ or anything else which could be misconstrued by potential clients.
We hope that you have found this blog post informative and we look forward to welcoming you as a client should you decide to use our service.
If you would like to learn more about the differences between a Deed Poll and Statutory Declaration then please see below:
What is a Deed Poll:
A Deed Poll is a type of Deed that concerns one person, the term Poll is used to signify this fact. A Deed which involves two or more perons is known as an Indenture Deed. Hence, Deed Poll (one person), Indenture Deed (two persons).
The legal makeup of a Deed (Poll or Indenture) is dictated by a mixture of what is known as common and statute law. I.e. a Deed must be worded and laid out correctly in order to be legally valid.
A Deed only needs to be signed by the person it concerns and a witness who can be anyone over the age of 18 so long as they are not related.
What is a Statutory Declaration:
A Statutory Declaration is a sworn statement, it will generally have similar text to that of an equivalent Deed Poll document, but it must be signed in the presence of someone who is legally permitted to administer an oath, i.e. a Solicitor, Notary, Army Officer etc.