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How to do a deed poll

Monday, July 09, 2012

PERSONS opt to get deed polls for various reasons when they wish to effect name changes.

Divorced women under pressure from some organisations have gone this route in order to revert to their maiden names, though there's no basis in law for the women to need to; and other persons, for whatever reason, choose to change their names.

The Registrar General's Department (RGD) offers this service, which will provide the petitioner with a drafted document that provides evidence that they have legally changed their name.

The person who signs the deed poll commits to abandoning the use of their former name; using the new name only at all times; and requiring all persons to address them by the new name.

For persons who want to get all their documents and records (eg medical records, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, drivers' licences) changed to show a new name, they will need to provide the deed poll to produce documentary evidence of the change of name.

According to the RGD, "a deed poll works in the same way as a marriage certificate for a married woman who wishes to take her husband's surname. She writes to everyone that has her name on records, enclosing her marriage certificate as documentary evidence, and requests that her surname be changed to her husband's.

"When changing your name by deed poll, you simply write to everyone, enclosing your deed poll as documentary evidence, and request that your name be changed to the new name shown on the deed poll."

With a deed poll, you can change your first names or surname, add names, remove names or rearrange your existing names. You can change your name at any time and for any reason, provided it is not to deceive or defraud or to avoid an obligation, the RGD says.

Note that you have to be at least 18 to change your own name. Children's names can be changed if the parents — or parent with parental responsibility — consent to the name change.

The following steps are taken for a deed poll:

1. You get a certified copy of your birth certificate or marriage certificate.

2. You visit the RGD to have a copy of the deed poll drafted.

3. You sign the new name in the presence of a justice of the peace.

4. You take the document (draft copy) to the Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax Department to be legally stamped by a government agent.

5. You return the stamped document to the RGD for recording

6. You will then receive a certified document recording the name change, with your birth certificated attached.

It takes at most 10-21 working days to produce deed poll. The process can also be completed by an attorney on your behalf.

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