So you want to change your name? Here’s what to do

Fans of Friends will remember the one where Phoebe legally changes her name to Princess Consuela Banana Hammock. Because she can. And perhaps at the time we wondered whether that’s just something you can do in the USA? 

But it’s not. You can change your name to anything you want to.

In this article we take a quick look at:

  • Reasons why people change their names.

  • How to go about changing your name.

  • Who to inform of your name change.

Reasons why people change their names

Some people like to change their name to reflect their circumstances, often due to marriage, partnership or divorce either of themselves or perhaps their parents. But those are not the only reasons to change names. Other reasons for changing your name include:

  • You do not like the name you were given at birth;

  • There is some kind of error in your given name;

  • Your given name is difficult to pronounce or spell;

  • You want your name to reflect your passions or beliefs;

  • You want to create a combined or double-barrelled name with a partner;

  • You want to avoid being tracked down by someone from your past.

Any of the above is a valid reason, and you can change your name to pretty much anything you want to. The only restrictions on the name you choose are:

  • It must include a first name and surname;

  • It must be pronounceable in at least one language;

  • It must adhere to Home Office regulations (for example no numbers, symbols or punctuation). 

How to go about changing your name

There are two ways to change your name. One is by marriage or civil partnership, and the other is by deed poll.

Marriage or civil partnership

If you either get married or enter a civil partnership, and want to take your spouse or partner’s name you can use your marriage or civil partnership certificate to do this. You do not need to use a deed poll, even if you want to create a double-barrelled name of both your surnames.

For most organisations it is sufficient just to tell them about the change, and show them the certificate if needed. However, you will need to complete application forms for either a new passport or driving licence. Changing your name on your passport costs £75.50 online or £85 by post. There is no charge for changing your driving licence, though you will also need to update the vehicle registration certificate (V5C) if you change your name.

If your marriage or civil partnership ends, and you want to change your name back, some organisations will do this for you on the basis of your divorce or final order documents. However, others may require a deed poll to accept a name change.

Deed poll

A deed poll is a legal document that declares your wishes. When used for a name change you need to declare that:

  • You will stop using your previous name;

  • You will always use your new name;

  • You only want other people to use your new name.

There are two ways to get a deed poll:

  • Make an unenrolled deed poll yourself

You can write your own deed poll declaring your change of name and your desire to only use your new name from this point on. The document needs to be signed by you, using both names, and countersigned by two independent witnesses. You do not need to involve a solicitor but you may feel more confident doing so.

  • Apply for an enrolled deed poll

An enrolled deed poll means that your new name will go on public record. You can apply for an enrolled deed poll from the Royal Courts of Justice. It will cost you £42.44.

Who to inform of your name change

A key factor in changing your name is letting everyone else know about it. This is particularly important for legal and financial organisations and paperwork. We mentioned passports and driving licence earlier, but here are examples of other bodies that you will need to inform:

  • Bank accounts

  • Mortgage and other lenders

  • Credit cards

  • HMRC

  • NHS

  • Email address and online accounts

  • Store cards, memberships and subscriptions

  • Legal and insurance documents

It’s easy to see how changing your name is likely to be a long process. It may take several months or even longer until everything is fully in your new name.

If you are thinking of changing your name, we hope that this article has provided useful information on how to go about this.

If there are other changes going on in your life as well, and you need a financial boost to help with these, remember that Minty offers 24 month loans that may be able to help.

For more lifestyle and financial tips visit us here again soon at Minty Loans.

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