You can (and should) make copies of your deed poll when you change your name.
To do this, you need a witness to certify each copy as a true copy. The best witness to choose is a solicitor, although solicitors usually charge a nominal amount for such a service. If a solicitor prepares a deed poll for you, then he or she might provide certified copies as part of the service or for a small extra fee.
It is a good idea to have several certified copies of your deed poll because many organisations require certified copies or the original in order to produce documents under your new name. Since organisations might hold your deed poll for several weeks, it is a good idea to have multiple copies to send to different organisations.
Deed poll enrolment
You can enrol (register) your deed poll in the Enrolment Books of the Supreme Court of Judicature, part of the Royal Courts of Justice in central London. It is a voluntary procedure and the service costs about £60. A copy of your deed poll is made, and if you lose the original, you can search and request for a copy to be made.
Since you have to physically attend either the Royal Courts of Justice or The National Archives at Kew (where your deed poll would be moved after 5 years), it is usually easier and less expensive to create a new deed poll as a replacement.
Creating a new deed of change of name is accepted and common practice - people lose their original documents frequently.
Finding a copy of someone else's deed poll
If your searching for a relative's deed poll (for example if you are researching your family tree), you may have difficulty finding it. There is no register of all name changes - some are enrolled, but most are not. Since so many people can prepare a deed poll, there is no easy way of even finding out if a name was changed.
Enrolled deed polls can be found since they are public records for public inspection. The search process is laborious though. Most people choose not to enrol their deed poll since it is costly and takes time. 'Unenrolled' deed polls are by far the norm.
Copies of records of name changes by statutory declaration
You can also change your name by statutory declaration. However, because a 'stat dec' needs to be sworn before a registered lawyer (a Commissioner of Oaths or a Justice of the Peace), it is usually a more expensive alternative to changing your name by deed poll.
Deed polls are much more common, more widely accepted as proof of a change of name, and more convenient. A deed poll is a good way of replacing a statutory declaration if you lose your only copy.
Further information and useful documents
This is the eleventh article in a series of articles about changing your name. The previous covered changing your name if you are transsexual.
You may be interested to download our free deed poll template that allows you to change your name without involving any third party solicitors or companies.