A change of name deed, also known as a deed poll, is a legal document that proves the change of name. The witness in this case plays a crucial role in validating the process. The witness must be:
- Over 18 years of age.
- Not related to the person changing their name.
- A resident of the same country where the deed poll is being executed.
- Able to understand the nature and purpose of the document they are witnessing.
- The witness could be a friend, neighbour, or colleague. They must be able to confirm the identity of the person changing their name and their willingness to undertake the name change.
When it comes to changing a child’s name, the process is slightly different. Both parents usually need to consent to the name change, and the witness has a similar role in validating the process. The witness must meet the same criteria as for an adult deed poll. However, they must also be able to confirm that the parents or guardians understand the implications of changing the child’s name and are doing so in the child’s best interest.
The witness's primary responsibility is to confirm the identity of the person changing their name and their consent to the change. They do this by signing the deed poll or child change of name deed. By signing, they attest that they have witnessed the person’s declaration to abandon their old name and use their new name in all circumstances.