Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Information About Name Changes

Changing your last name is a very common thing for a bride to do after marriage. It can also be a great way to lose an unwanted or unappealing family name. It really doesn't matter when or why you want to change your name, it is your right to do so. Legally changing your name yourself is also very inexpensive since a lawyer is not required.

Most women simply follow tradition and take their husband's last name and give up their last name they were born with. Many times you'll see women keeping their family name but as their middle name. Some will even use the two names as one with a hyphen or space in between them. These options are all available to you for your post wedding name change. In very rare cases the husband will even take the bride's last name.

There are also couples that just create an entirely new last name. As long as your not trying to change your name for fraudulent purposes then you can pretty much change your name to anything you want.

It's a good idea to change your name on your documents and so forth after your honeymoon. This is because it can take awhile to change your name on your passport and other documents. If you were to travel somewhere with one name and try to come back on the same passport but this time they check your license and it has your new name then you could have trouble coming back to the U.S. or worse detained at the airport and charged.

Just changing your name on your documents though is not a legal name change. You will need to file a legal name change for your state. Since every state is different, I cannot provide you with the exact instructions for your state. To make everything easy I suggest you find a legal name change form with instructions. These are often called do-it-yourself name change forms. Most states will require you to follow a certain procedure to make your name change legal. Your state's procedure will most likely include things like having two witnesses sign the document and having it notarized before it is legally valid.

The most important documents to change your name on first are documents you use for identification like your drivers license and social security card. Having identification with your new name will make changing your name on other important documents much easier. Make a checklist of documents you will need to change your name on and people you should notify. Do not forget to include things like credit cards, vehicle registration, your employer, retirement plans, the U.S. post office, utility companies, legal contracts, your last will, and your insurance policies. Most of these records can be changed simply by mail or with a quick phone call. Just to make everything easy, have copies of your marriage license ready to mail out. Another good idea is to request a receipt to be returned to you, that way you'll have an idea of when your name change has taken effect.

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