A woman can usually revert to her maiden name upon being widowed without the need for a Deed Poll. This is because her husband’s death certificate and her marriage certificate (which shows her maiden name) are usually accepted as documentary evidence that her name has changed. Government departments and most companies and organisations will change their records to show the new surname upon presentation of these certificates.
If the death certificate and marriage certificate are not accepted as documentary evidence (this can be the case with the financial institutions), then a Deed Poll will be required since a Deed Poll will be accepted by everyone without question as documentary evidence of a change of name.
If a woman wishes to be known by another surname, or wishes to change her forenames, she must do this by Deed Poll.