Hi there. I’m Matthew Pryke Notary Public and solicitor based in London. Thanks for all the Notary questions and queries you’re sending in. We love dealing with them. Anything we can do to make the process of notarising documents more straight forward. We’re super excited about helping you with. So somebody has asked me a question about Deed Polls. This certainly seems to be an area where there seems to be quite a lot of confusion. Now, what is a Deed Poll? A Deed Poll is a document which somebody can sign to legally change their name. So what they’re effectively saying by signing that document is their previous name, that may be a maiden name or it may be just a name that they’ve changed from a previous name they don’t like, they’re not going to use moving forward. Actually what they’re going to do is use a new name exclusively as their lawful name.
Now the document, the Deed Poll, itself is not a complicated document. In fact, if you look on the internet, you can find lots of examples of templates. Do go carefully though because I’ve seen some of those templates are actually produced wrongly. So when it’s something as crucial as changing your name, I would suggest making sure that at least somebody who is legally qualified has a look at it to make sure it’s correct. But once you’ve got your correct name change template, the real confusion appears to be a misunderstanding over the witnesses to the signing of the Deed Poll. Now there’s quite a few companies out there which suggest or imply the document needs to be stamped or it needs some professional to sign and stamp the Deed Poll. Actually that isn’t always the case. In fact, in the large majority of occasions, a professional signature and stamp aren’t necessary for the document to be legally binding within the UK. It just needs to have independent witnesses and the independent witness doesn’t need to be a professional like a solicitor or a qualified Notary Public.
What it really needs to be is someone who is genuinely independent, so not connected with the person who is signing the documents to change their name. So a family member or something similar wouldn’t be appropriate, but the only time when a document would need to be signed by a legal professional such as a UK Notary Public is usually if the document is going to be used overseas and it needs to be recognized as being legally enforceable within a foreign country. Now the confusion, unfortunately, means that lots of people end up spending money with law firms or with other organisations when they really don’t need to spend this money. Unfortunately I see lots of documents on this basis, it’s one of those where I’m trying to avoid people having to waste money and so I’ll point out to them, but actually they didn’t need to do that. I see it so often and when I explain people are often disappointed.
So I am trying to help people to change their name without spending cash. What I’ve actually done is made a free Deed Poll name change template available via my website https://mdpryke-notary.com/2010/08/changing-name-by-deed-poll/. So you don’t need to spend money on these organisations who are seeking to charge you money to change your name by Deed Poll. What you can do is go and use the template and use this document at no cost. There’s no catch to that. It is simply available to download for free from my website. To help, I’m going to put a little link in the comments section below so you can directly access that document. And if you have any questions, then just give us a call. So I hope that helps. A deed poll document can be used to legally change your name, and if you want to do that, you can do it for free by following the link we provide an on our website. So thanks again and if you have any questions or would like us to cover absolutely anything, please do get in touch. Thanks very much for visiting our website.