By Deed Poll
A change of name may be evidenced by a deed poll prepared by an officer of arms and entered into the official records of the College of Arms. The change of name is gazetted in the London Gazette. The person whose name is changed need not be a person entitled to arms. A deed poll which has been prepared elsewhere may also be entered into the College registers.
By Royal Licence
A surname may also be altered or changed by Royal Licence. Arms granted to one family can only be transferred to another person not in legitimate male line of descent from the original grantee by means of a Royal Licence, followed by an exemplification of the arms. A Royal Licence is usually granted, on the advice of the Secretary of State for Justice, where the petitioner is required by a clause in a will to assume the name and arms of the testator, in order to inherit a legacy, but voluntary applications are also entertained.
A petition for such a Royal Licence is drafted by an officer of arms for signature by the petitioner. It is then submitted on his or her behalf by the officer of arms to the Ministry of Justice, who forward it to Buckingham Palace. A resulting Royal Licence and any subsequent exemplification of arms must be recorded in the official registers of the College of Arms to be valid.