Name Change - Deed Poll

What is a deed Poll?


A Deed Poll is a legal document - not a certificate.  It is a form of legal contract but it differs from legal contracts between two or more parties in that it only concerns one person (and it is only signed by that person in the presence of a witness).  A Deed Poll legally binds the person who signs it to a particular course of action as detailed on the Deed Poll document.


Although Deed Poll documents are used for various purposes relating to an individual or a company legally committing themselves to doing something, they have one generally accepted meaning and usage and that is for officially recognising a change of name.  However, the correct legal name for a deed that has been drawn up to change someone's name is a Deed of Change of Name (but more commonly known as a Deed Poll).


What does a Deed Poll contain?


A Deed Poll for a change of name contains three declarations and by executing the Deed Poll (signing, dating and having your signing witnessed) you are legally committing yourself to:


•             Abandoning the use of your former name;

•             Using your new name only at all times;

•             Requiring all persons to address you by your new name only.


What is a Statutory Declaration?


A Statutory Declaration is simply a document; a written statement of fact that is signed under oath in the presence of:


•             Solicitor

•             Notary of the Public

•             Justice of the Peace

•             Commissioner for Oaths


A Statutory Declaration document must therefore be taken to a solicitor’s office or, a county court in order to perform the swearing under oath.

For change of name purposes the Statutory Declaration document will be accepted providing that the statutory declaration has been signed in the new name. Generally Statutory Declaration name change documents will be signed just with the new name. The document will be stamped by the solicitor as confirmation the document was sworn under oath. The solicitor stamp is the authorisation confirmation.



What is the difference between Deed Poll and Statutory Declaration?


Both Deed Poll and Statutory Declaration are valid ways to perform an official legally recognised change of name. Both consist of a legal document describing and relinquishing your old name and describing and adopting your chosen new name, along with several other details such your address and the date of your official name change.


The effective difference between Deed Poll and Statutory Declaration is how the documents are authorised.


Deed Poll:


To be valid a Deed Poll document must be signed and dated by you, and witnessed and signed by two people who should not be related to you. You must sign both your old name and your new name in the spaces provided, even if your signature has not changed. The signing of the downloaded document by yourself in the presence of your two witnesses, who also sign the document to confirm their presence, is all that is required to make the Deed Poll document and therefore your name change valid. Once this has been completed you have officially changed your name.


Statutory Declaration:


To be valid a Statutory Declaration document must be sworn and signed by you in front of a either a Solicitor, Judge, Officer of the Court or Commissioner of Oaths, who will also sign and date the document to validate it. In this case you must take your downloaded document to for example your local solicitor who will take your sworn oath and authorise the document with their official stamp. Once this has been completed you have officially changed your name.



Change of name in Gibraltar


Strictly speaking a deed poll is not needed to change your name. A person changes their name by use (i.e. one declares that their name is now ‘James’) so long as it doesn’t mislead. The deed poll is evidence of the name change, that facilitates changing official documents (like the passport office) so they have proof that your name has changed. It is extremely unlikely (if ever) to accept anything less as proof of a name change.


To have a name change by deed poll (on the assumption that the context is to completely change the name as opposed to dealing with marriage or maiden names) the applicant needs to be a British national, and likely resident in Gibraltar for at least 10 years since an affidavit from a British National homeowner who has known them for at least 10 years would be needed with the application.


There is also a requirement to publish the notice to change in the Gazette.


As for the Deed Poll itself, there are variations depending on the circumstances of who wishes to change their name.


Legal advice is required to check if a deed poll is needed, if one can apply for a deed poll in Gibraltar, and then what exactly one has to do.



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