The Gorge - Flash Bristow's Website
DIY Deed Poll

Hopefully this will save you money as you can do it yourself quite legally and for free. Some grateful people are kind enough to buy me a beer as a thank you - if you'd like to, the bar's over here!
Having been known to everyone for many years as Flash, I was asked to answer the phone at work with my "real" name one Friday. I organised the deed poll over the weekend, and come Monday answered the phone with my (new) real name, and a grin... I've never looked back.

There is no need to pay to change your name legally. I copied the wording from a website, printed it out, signed and sealed it in the presence of witnesses, and that was all that was needed. I then used this to get a passport and driving licence in my new name, and then use those as ID any time I need it.

In fact, you can choose to call yourself by whatever name you like, but in order to satisfy authorities you should do it this way, so they can tick the right boxes. Doing it yourself is perfectly legal.

I followed directions from www.kempston.demon.co.uk/namechange.html but this page has long since gone (although it is archived by the Wayback Machine) so I shall rewrite the information here, with my own explanation.

This is what worked for me in the year 2000, and for other friends and contacts who have since changed their name. The wording linked on the next page is taken entirely from the site I used, as is, and I take no responsibility for its content other than reproducing it here for reference. While this form worked for me and was accepted by the passport office, DVLA and other UK government departments, the decision on whether to do the same is yours alone and I am not responsible for the results of any actions you may take. Good luck with your name change - I found it very rewarding to finally become "me".

Here are some testimonies from other people who used this method.

  1. Firstly, you need the wording for the form. The wording is here. Now change the red text for the correct information in your case.

  2. Buy some nice paper to print it onto - I used parchment paper - and print about ten of them, as many places will require originals. While they should be returned to you in due course, they may be folded and or damaged, and you may wish to send out to several places simultaneously. Spare originals are very useful!

  3. Buy some "seals" from a stationer's or office supplies shop. These are red circular stickers, with jagged edges. A couple of packets should be enough, and only cost a few pounds. They look like this. If you can't find them locally, you can buy a roll of 100 "Legal seals" from Shaw & Sons (£8.80 at time of writing).

    Update: You can still do it this way, but the seals are no longer required. If you don't use the seals, then change the wording from "Signed Sealed and Delivered" to "Signed as a Deed". You should change "affixed my seal" to "set my hand".

    I have also been advised since I did my deed poll that the following wording should be added for completeness: "Notwithstanding the decision of Mr Justice Vaisey in Re: Parrott, Cox v Parrott, the applicant desires the enrolment to proceed".

  4. Find two witnesses. I chose my partner Mike, and our friend Tony. I took them to the pub and bought them a pint to drink while we signed the forms.

  5. Armed with printouts, seals and witnesses, sit down and sign your old name and new name on each. Then get your witnesses to sign, and finally place a seal on each sheet (if you are using them). You now have several copies of your deed poll. It's done, there's no going back now!

  6. Finally you have to tell people that you have a new name, and by law you MUST do this; you are not allowed to change your name as a way of making yourself harder to find. So if you have any creditors you must tell them, and don't forget to notify the tax man!

So, with the job done I told my bank, doctor, and employer, all of whom wanted to see the original deed poll form, and who photocopied and returned it, and who instantly amended their records. In due course I received a new bank card with my new name on it.

The passport office and driving license authorities both need you to complete their forms and send in your old passport/license with the deed poll (an original), and there's an admin fee I think. But once you've got those two sorted out you have all the ID you need in the future.

For utilities like British Gas you can just call and tell them, or they might ask you to send a photocopy of the deed poll. It varies between the companies but it's fairly simple.

The only problem I had is with Inland Revenue. They know I've changed my name and happily accept NI payments based on my NI number and my new name, and paid me disability benefits based on the same. However it took about four years before they stopped sending me letters addressed to my old name even after I'd moved house - they updated the address but still not the name! I just kept correcting it and sending it back. Perhaps they have some uber-record based on birth name or something. Eventually they got it right. It never caused any problems with tax/NI/benefits, it was just annoying.

Good luck with your name change!

This page last updated: 01 September 2022

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