Changing your name is, well, a process whereby you alter your name. In the United Kingdom, there are no legal requirements to be fulfilled in order to change a name, you simply adopt a new one. However in practical terms, it helps other organisations (banks, local councils, universities etc) to have some form of documentation of your name change. The most common way of doing this is via a Deed Poll, a legal document renouncing your previous name and showing a commitment to use a new one. You do not need to pay for this service, despite there being a whole host of companies willing to charge you ridiculous sums of money to put together fairly amateurish looking documents which cost them pennies to print off.
Creating your own deed poll
It will undoubtedly help this process if your Deed Poll document at least looks vaguely reputable and is not scribbled on the back of a napkin. So do it on decent paper, and make sure it is presented well on a printed page. Fill in the square bracketed [ ] areas with the appropriate information. On signing and witnessing, the document becomes valid; witnessing must take place at the same time of the signature - so all signatures should be given at the same time (well, one after another at least)
Form of words
DEED POLL ON CHANGE OF NAME
THIS CHANGE OF NAME DEED made this [day] day of [month] [year]
BY me the undersigned [new name] in [full of address excluding county and postcode] in the County of [registration county] now or lately known as [old name in full] a British citizen under section 37(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981
WITNESSES AND IT IS HEREBY DECLARED as follows:-
1. I absolutely and entirely renounce relinquish and abandon the use of my said former name of [old name in full] and assume adopt and determine to take and use from the date hereof the name of [new name in full] in substitution for my former name of [old name in full],
2. I shall at all times hereafter in all records deeds documents and other writings and in all actions and proceedings as well as in all dealings and transactions and on all occasions whatsoever use and subscribe the said name of [new name in full] as my name in substitution for my former name of [old name in full] so relinquished as aforesaid to the intent that I may hereafter be called known or distinguished not by the former name of [old name in full] but by [new name in full] only,
3. I authorise and require all persons at all times to designate describe and address me by the adopted name of [new name in full].
IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto subscribed my adopted and substituted name of [new name in full] and also my said former name of [old name in full] and have set my hand the day and year first above written.
SIGNED AS A DEED by the above-named [new name in full]
formerly known as [old name in full]
in the presence of
[first witness's signature]
[first witness's name and address ]
[second witness's signature]
[second witness's name and address]
Enrolment with the High Court
Deed polls can be enrolled with the High Court and thereafter published in the London Gazette, the official record of national business and such. In practice, this is rarely done since it offers no particular benefit and makes the matter very public. Companies that offer to charge for deed polls will not enrol their deed polls as standard.