How I Changed My Name Via Deed Poll

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Instead of getting married, I decided to change my surname to match my partners, and I have also changed my title from Miss to Mrs. 

Now, I know this information is pretty irrelevant to my blog as I don't think I ever actually shared my surname on here, and you probably wouldn't have noticed if I didn't mention it. In fact, the reason why I am posting this is because I have both enquired and scoured the internet looking for answers to these questions so many times in the past, and I am yet to find something similar that outlines the process in an easy and, for lack of a better word, dumbed-down fashion.

So here I am, describing exactly what I did and what this means, as best as I can.

First up, changing your name via deed poll is probably one of the easiest things you could do. 

You can decide right this instant that you want a new name, and everyone must call you it from now on, and that is your legal right. There are no laws in the UK about changing your name, however there are restrictions on what you can change it to, nothing offensive or blasphemous, etc.

For some reason, I was under the impression that 'deed poll' was an organisation that you had to contact in order to change your name and pay a hefty sum to. This is false. A deed poll is a legal document that states your change of name. AKA - It's a piece of paper that says "this is my new name, I will not use my old name, here is my signature and here are the signature of my witnesses who vouch for me".  Obviously there are terms and some official wording you need to use, but that is the overall summary. When you search "deed poll online", you're being greeted by hundreds of websites that offer you the option to change your name online. There are prices that range from as little as £3 to £50+, and the more you pay the more you're being scammed, unfortunately.

The reality is, you can do this for free if you want, via this website here.

The companies use fancy paper and may send you a bunch of copies with a stamp on that will look a bit more official but it's all the same thing so it depends what your budget is completely. You can enrol your name via the government but a lot of websites don't advise to do this as you can only enrol a new name 3 times in your life, and an 'unenrolled' version (the signed document stating your new name)  is exactly the same and legally has to be accepted, and it is, by the passport office, HMRC, DVLA and all other government bodies in the UK.

I didn't actually opt for a free version, I ended up going for deedpolloffice and I paid £15 including delivery for 1 copy. The only reason why is because it would have ended up costing me the same price to go to the library, get decent paper and print it out and then i'd end up with the risk of it only being accepted by some places and not others. Deed Poll office has the best reviews from what I found (not an ad obviously, just my experience), a lot of people state that it is accepted by all organisations, and if for some reason it isn't, they provide you with all of the information, such as a cover letter and a letter of concern for companies, who may not be respecting your wishes.

I would state that you should absolutely do your research on the company you settle for if you do decide to do this, because a lot of them are purely out for money. 

This article by the Guardian, stating which websites to avoid, also helped me a lot during my research.

In terms of marriage, I discovered that there are absolutely no laws against telling people you are married even if you are not (for example, if somebody asks and you don't want to say no, you are within your right to do so, as long as it isn't to commit fraud or on a legal document), and you also have every right to change your title to whatever you want at any time. A lot of people who have changed their surname instead of opting for marriage choose to call their partner their husband/wife, and that is completely up to them.

Me and Anthony are not going to be calling ourselves husband and wife, though, and we always just refer to each other as our 'partner'. We have been engaged for almost 3 years, and the only reason we aren't married currently is because we simply haven't got the money. I wanted to have the same name as the kids, and we want to get married when we can do it properly and actually get incredibly drunk with our grown up children without having to worry about them. The only downside is that when we eventually get married, our surnames will be the same already. On the plus side, I will have already changed all of my documents over, so it won't be as much of a bother then.

On top of this, I don't really know anything about marriage. I had a quick google last week of registry office costs and was left baffled by the process and the whole 'notice to marry' thing, and honestly the whole topic makes me feel a bit stressed. I couldn't imagine having to go through that, and organise a party, and not be left utterly torn to pieces at the end of it.

Putting it off seems a much better option for us right now.

I really hope you have found this helpful and if you have any questions please leave them for me down below, and I will get back to you as soon as I can. For now, we are just celebrating my new surname which I still haven't quite got used to!

Quick disclaimer to add: Changing your name and title via deedpoll instead of getting married does not give you the same rights as a married couple, obviously. If you want to appear to be married without the hefty sum though, this is the one for you. 

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