There are many reasons you may want to change your name – getting married, not liking your name, or after a divorce are just three of the possibilities. Whatever the reason, if you want to change your name, there are a few legal steps you need to follow.
The legal way to change your name in the United States is to file a petition with the court in the jurisdiction where you live. Once the petition is approved, you will receive a court order that changes your name.
You will need to provide certified copies of the court order to any government agencies or businesses with whom you have official dealings, such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles, your bank, etc. It is also a good idea to notify friends and family of your new name so that they can update their records.
In the UK you can change your first name any time you like, you simply let people know what your new name is. However if you want to change it permanently and legally, and/or you want to change your surname, you must change it by Deed Poll. The instructions for doing this can be found on the UK Government’s website.
Once you’ve changed your name you can notify people and businesses of your new name, by sending them a letter or email.
Letter notifying a name change – Sample 1
To friends and family
I’ve finally done it! I’ve changed my name to [name] and wanted to let you know.
I’m sure you’ll forget every now and then but this name change means a lot to me so do your best to remember won’t you?
See you soon,
Letter notifying a name change – Sample 2
Re: account number 123456
Dear [business name or person’s name]
I am writing to let you know that I have changed my name from [your original name] to my new name of [name]. Please update your records accordingly.
US – I have enclosed a copy of the certified court order as proof.
UK – I enclose a copy of the enrolled deed poll as proof.