Changing Your Name

There is a lot of confusing information out there, about this subject. People often talk about “Statutory Declarations” and “Deed Polls”, and aren’t sure of the difference. Sometimes people are charged a lot of money for changing their name when the process needn’t be expensive or complicated

What’s the difference between a Statutory Declaration and a Deed-Poll? Unlike a Statutory Declaration, a deed-poll does not have to be endorsed by a legal professional. It can be witnessed by any two other people, as long as they are not related to you. A Statutory Declaration may superficially carry more weight because of the endorsement of a legal professional, but in law they are equally valid as a means of changing your name. You just have to decide which method is more convenient for you.

The Statutory Declaration Method: Changing your name can be achieved simply with a document called a “Change of Name Deed”. A Deed is a legally binding promise. You can download a template Change of Name Deed here. Fill in the relevant parts of the Deed, but don’t sign it. Make an appointment with a solicitor and tell them that you would like them to whiteness a Change of Name Deed. At your appointment you will have to swear an oath in front of someone, saying that you promise to abandon your previous name and thereafter always be known by your new name. Then the Deed document will be signed and dated.

While you’re at your solicitors appointment, ask them to make some authorised copies of your Deed, which you can use to send to all the relevant people who you will need to inform of your name change.

You’ll have to pay a small fee for your appointment, which can be as little as £5 or £10, but check the cost when you make the appointment.

The Deed-Poll Method: A Deed-Poll name change is an almost identical document, but it is witnessed and countersigned by any two other people (not relatives), who do not have to be legally qualified, and you don’t have to swear an oath in front of a legal professional. We have come across this company who provide downloadable deed-polls for a reasonable price. It may be a useful option for you.

(Other similar websites are available, but prices vary widely)

Changing Pronouns: To change from being addressed as female – Miss/Mrs; she/her/hers – to having a male address – Mr.; he/him/his – you will also need a second piece of documentation: a letter from your Gender Clinic or GP, preferably on headed paper, stating that you are currently undergoing gender re-assignment and that you intend to live as male from now on and that you should be afforded every courtesy and consideration as such.

As with the Change of Name Deed, get your Doctor to make some copies and write “AUTHORISED COPY” on them and sign them for you.

When you have your signed Change of Name Deed and your Doctor’s letter, you can send an authorised copy of each to all the relevant people/organisations (such as your bank, the DVLA, the DWP, your employer, your gas/electricity suppliers etc.).

It’s a good idea to include a signed covering letter, explaining that you are transgender/transsexual; that you were born female but are now undergoing gender re-assignment to live permanently as male, and that you wish to be addressed with your male identity hence forth. You can also request replacement documents, such as a drivers license; a cheque book; a credit or debit card, etc. in your new identity.

It is your legal right to live in your preferred gender role. (As long as you are not doing it for fraudulent reasons!) Changing your name and how you are addressed, is part of that legal right. If anyone challenges you over this, remember the law is on your side!

It is illegal for anyone to discriminate against you because you are intending to undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone gender transition, even if you have not had or do not intend to have any medical gender-reassignment treatments, but have self-determined to live permanently in your preferred gender-role.