What’s your Last Name?

Back in May I changed my name by Deed Poll.

I’ve had a fair few last names. My maiden name, of course, then my first married name. That name happened to be double-barrelled, so when we split up I dropped the first half and just used the second half. Then when I married again, I took my second husband’s name. After he left, I didn’t want to keep his name.

The question then was – what to put in its place? My first married name was a non-starter of course, and I didn’t really want to go back to my maiden name. I was only 19 when I got married the first time, so to me my maiden name is the name I had as a child, and I really didn’t want to go back to that after nearly 40 years.

My middle name happens to be a surname, so I decided to use that – it’s a name that’s been with me throughout my life, through all my ups and downs. It made sense to me.

Changing your name by Deed Poll is simple, quick, and free to do – you just download the forms from the internet and find two people willing to act as witnesses. That’s it. The resulting document is the ‘Deed Poll’ itself.

But – when it came to actually using it to change my name on all my ‘stuff’, it’s been a different matter – it’s neither simple, nor quick.

The story so far –

Main current account – I had to go in to the branch, and she couldn’t do it there and then. The cashier needed to take a photocopy of the Deed Poll, but promised it would all be sorted within 24 hours. And it was. However, I’ve never received a new bank card, with my new name on it, so I need to chase that up.

Secondary account – again, I had to go in to the branch. I was invited into a side office. The person I spoke to spent a long time looking at the Deed Poll and then said ‘it should be stamped’. I asked her who she thought should have stamped it?? She didn’t know. She went to speak to someone. She came back, and apparently all was now acceptable. The name is now changed on my account online, but again no new card has been issued. Add it to the to-do list.

I applied for a loan – my son was coming to visit, so I wanted to buy a new bed to replace the one from the spare bedroom that my husband took with him when he left. I found one that I wanted at Dreams, and they did interest-free credit. Might as well keep the money in my account as long as I can, so I applied for it. They needed to see the Deed Poll, so I scanned it across to them.

They then said, ‘We need to see the certificate’.

What certificate?? I said, ‘That is it. That is the Deed Poll. There’s nothing else.’

I spoke at length to a lovely woman at Dreams, who totally understood what I was saying – but the underwriters wouldn’t take her word for it, neither was she allowed to give me their phone number so that I could speak to them directly.

After five days (five days!!) they decided to accept my application. By this time, our plans had changed – I’d got Job #26 and needed to work, so my son wasn’t coming to see me. Which meant I didn’t need to get the bed immediately. I took great delight in cancelling the order and telling them they’d lost the sale because they’d taken so long to decide on whether or not to accept my application. Silly sausages.

I know I’m not the first person to change their name by Deed Poll. So why do these major institutions struggle with it? I know it probably isn’t a daily occurrence, but you’d think there’d be somewhere they could look it up. Some sort of Policy or Procedure. Just some sort of explanation so that they’d know a Deed Poll when they saw one.

I still have to sort out my credit card, the mortgage, and a gazillion other things.

But hopefully this will be my last name.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. anglosvizzera says:

    I’ve changed my name twice after 2 divorces, but I did go back to my maiden name as it was Swiss and I like it. Also, it felt more like ‘me’ whereas changing my name when I got married felt rather like I was signing up as someone else’s possession. I did do it through the solicitor at the time of the divorces, so it did have a ‘stamp’ on it which made things easier, I guess.

    So, when I met my 3rd husband-to-be and we decided to get married (having both originally said ‘never again’ as it was the 3rd time for both of us) my fiance said he didn’t expect me to change my name, so that was easy as I only had to mention to certain bodies that I’d got married and with no name hassle to go with it.

    He happens to have a double-barrelled name too, and I was thinking that if we’d been living in Switzerland and got married, my maiden name would be appended to his name, which would end up being triple-barrelled…imagine trying to fit it into that tiny box for passport or driving license applications!

    It does seem a bit odd that you have been having problems, but it doesn’t surprise me – it seems that common sense has all but disappeared and administrators like to wield some kind of ‘power’ over the public just to make themselves feel more worthy, I suppose…


    1. I think anything out of the ordinary run of things, and people generally don’t know how to deal with it, or don’t/can’t take the responsibility for possibly getting it wrong so prefer to do nothing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Athene says:

    In fact you can legally change your name without any documentation at all but as you’re finding it is helpful to have a statement/deed to show. Fortunately perhaps I didn’t change my name when I married, so didn’t have to change it back again.

    In a previous existence (about the time you were sailing in the South Pacific!) my job involved sometimes preparing these for people, usually following divorce. I’m glad to know you can now find it for free on the Internet, I always felt bad charging for what was a five-minute job on a word processor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right – the trouble is, most people don’t realise you can just call yourself whatever you want!!


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