How to Witness your Change of Name Deed
1. Choosing a Witness
If you are a British national living in the United Kingdom the witness you choose needs to live inside the United Kingdom and be at least 18 years of age or over.
They need to know who you are by your original name, but they also need to be independent from you. This basically means that they cannot be a relative, your partner or someone that lives in the same household with you.
They must also have full mental capacity, this means that they must be able to make decisions for themselves without being affected by an impairment or disturbance of the mind (Disability or Illness). Everyone has full mental capacity by default unless they are proven not to be.
Apart from all of the above conditions, your witness could be anyone, for example:
- A friend
- Work Colleague
- Any other professional
What if I am going to use my Deed Poll abroad?
If you want to use your Deed Poll as evidence abroad that you have changed your name you will need to get it certified / witnessed by a Notary Public.
What is a Notary Public and how to find one
If you want to be certain that your Deed Poll will be accepted and are using it within the United Kingdom then you can get it Certified by a Qualified Solicitor, typically this costs between £20-£30.
To find a Solicitor near you simply use the following link.
Law Society Find a Solicitor UK
2. Before your witness signs the Deed Poll
Once you have found a witness, before they sign your deed poll you need to explain to them what the Deed Poll is. Make sure they understand that this is legally binding and evidence that you have changed their name. It is also a good idea to let them read through the document to make sure they are 100% happy to sign it and act as your witness.
It is also good practice to let the witness have one of the certified copies so that they can keep this safely in case it is questioned, also so they have and know exactly what they have signed.
It’s also handy for someone else to keep a copy safe just in case your Deed poll is lost or misplaced.
3. Sign and date the deed poll in front of your witness
The Deed Poll needs to be signed twice by yourself:
- Once in your Old Name
- Once in your New Name
Sign the deed poll twice — once in your new name, and then again in your old name in the space underneath.
Your “new” signature should be the signature you want to use from now on when signing other documents. (Although if your signature is unreadable, then your “old” and “new” signatures can just be the same — you don’t have to change it if you don’t want to.)
Your witness should be physically present and be able to watch you write your signature.
You also need to date the deed poll (with the current date). For example 21st July 2015.
4. Have your witness sign the deed poll
The witness should sign the deed poll themself, and then write their name, address, and occupation underneath.
5. Execute any duplicate originals in the same way
You and your witness then need to do the same thing with all the duplicate originals you’ve ordered (if any) in exactly the same way .
That’s it! — Your deed poll is now a legally valid document.
You can start using your deed poll straightaway to update your documents and records. (You don’t need to send it back to us.)