Robb Knight

Changing Your Name by Deed Poll

2019-09-08

I changed my name (and my email) a couple of weeks ago and I have a few thoughts about the process. Most of this should also apply if you've changed your name because of marriage.

Make a List

Before you do anything else, make a list of everywhere you need to change your name, along with the process to do it (letter, email, in branch). If it's a letter or email, I used this to send to each of them:

Please be advised that on {name change date} my name was legally changed from {old name} to {new name}.

My new name should be reflected on my {credit card|account|whatever}, account number {12345}, previously held in the name of {old name}.

I have included a copy of my Deed Poll. If you have further questions, please contact me at {phone number} or {email}.

Sincerely, {New Name} (previously {Old Name})

You'll also need to sign that letter with your old and new signature. Becuase signatures are proof of...something?

I won't list everywhere I had to change my name, but here's a good list of places to start:

Make Multiple Deed Polls

I used Free UK Deed Poll to make my deed poll, printed on some cerificate paper I got on Amazon. This is 100% legal and any company that charges you for a deed poll is just printing a piece of paper for you. I would suggest getting at least four or five deed polls signed (you need two witnesses); I currently have three in the mail and a final one at home which won't be leaving my sight until at least one has been returned.

Do Your Passport or Driving Licence as Soon as Possible

Despite a deed poll being a legal document, there are some places that won't accept that as proof without additional documentation, namely a photo ID of some kind. Getting either your passport or driving licence done quickly will make the process a lot easier. If you don't have either of those, you'll have to argue with them like I did with my mortgage company while I was waiting for my new passport.

Try Live Chat First

A lot of companies have pages explaining how to change your name with them, which is usually something like "Send us a letter in the post with a copy of your deed poll" but if you ask them on live chat, a lot of them will do it without having to send them a physical letter like a caveman.

You Won't Get Confirmation

Of the seven places I've sent letters to, only one of them has actually confirmed that the change has happened, I had to call the others to confirm the change.

Everyone Sucks Except Monzo

I was able to change my name on Monzo within five minutes using the in-app chat. A week later, I'm still waiting for my high street bank to change even though I went in branch to make the change, which they force you to do.

If All Else Fails, Say the Magic Word

I also changed my email at the same time as my name, so I had to go through all my online accounts to change it.

If you find a company who refuses to change your name or email, say the magic word: GDPR. There are multiple companies who won't change your email address at all so it almost always ended in me sending an email something like this:

You have an obligation under GDPR to keep my personal information correct and up to date. If you're unable or unwilling to change my {name|email}, please delete my account as soon as possible.

For the most part, these companies would "suddenly" find a way to change it or, in a few cases, they would delete the account.