Deed poll

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Deed poll is a legal and formal statement that you have changed your name in the that is available to anyone over the age of 18. As part of your application you renounce your former name and undertake to inform everyone you know of your new name.

As a concept connected with English common law this is facility is available in the United Kingdom, other Commonwealth countries and other countries around the world.

It provides you with documentary evidence that you have changed your name and requires all persons, companies and organisation (including government departments) to change their records to show your new name. A deed poll also lets you get documents like your passport, driving license, credit cards etc. reissued in your new name.

Rules exist to rename couples and entire families by deed poll.

Non-citizens resident in the UK can use this method and it has apparently been recognised, in some cases, by other national agencies.

You do not strictly need to use deed poll to change your name as anyone over the age of 16 can be known by any name simply by using it. However such a change is not legally recognised, or reflected in legal documents, unless you use deed poll.

There are restrictions to what is accepted via deed poll and these generally consist of:

  1. No single names.
  2. No names considered obsene, vulgar or unsuitable.
  3. No names considered unpronouncable.
  4. Cannot include symbols, numbers or punctuation (other than hyphens and apostrophes).
  5. To avoid people passing themselves off as some who has inherited, or been granted, a title, no one can have Sir, Lord, Lady, Baron, Baroness, Count, Earl, Countess, Duke or Duchess as their first name.

Famous instances of people renamed by deed poll:

Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow, the founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

Elton Hercules John, a UK singer, composer and musician, was previously called Reginald Kenneth Dwight before he changed his name by deed poll.

One disgruntled customer of Barclays Bank changed his name to a statement that was very insulting to Barclays and sucessfully managed to force them to reissue his cheque book and other banking details under that name.