How to change surnames
There are so many reasons why people change surnames. Marriage is by far the number one reason, accounting for around 70% of all surname changes. Women reverting to their birth name account for 20% of people changing names. These women may be divorced, separated or just want to use their prior name – no reason is necessary. Legal name change, although most interesting, only account for 10%.
The reason why you are changing names will dictate the type of documentary evidence you need for your new name. If married and taking your spouse’s surname in place of your own (or in addition to your own, with a hyphen or space separating names), you only need your marriage certificate.
If you’re reverting to your maiden name after divorce, then you can use your divorce certificate providing it lists both your married name and birth name. You don’t have to be divorced to change surnames. You may be separated, or just want to use your prior name. All you need to do is show government issued documents that list both your names and prove the link. Vital Statistics documents are preferred. This may be your birth and marriage certificates, or just your marriage certificate.
If you’re legally changing names the process is a little more involved. You need to file an application with Vital Statistics in the province where you were born or where you currently reside. You may need to prove your residency too, by way of utility bills, property title or lease agreement. Complete a form, pay the fee and show identification documents. Some provinces may also have fingerprint checks for a small additional fee. Once it all checks out you are issued with a legal name change certificate, or if you were born in that province, an amended birth certificate.
Once you have your marriage certificate, divorce order or legal name change certificate you can start getting your name changed in all the various places. Most companies and government agencies need to see your certificate. Some may also have a special form they need you to complete and return. Some need you to send your name change request in writing. Most big banks need to you to visit a branch in person. That way you can return any old plastic cards, have new ones issued and your new signature can be recorded.
The most cost effective way to start changing surnames is to make a list of all the places where you need to have your name change recorded. Call each one and ask what procedure to follow. You’ll need a fair bit of time if you have a number of companies as you can expect to be left on hold for a while.
If you can’t be bothered waiting, personalised name change kits can save a lot of time. Good quality kits, like Easy Name Change, have already researched the name change procedure with each company and provide customers with comprehensive name change procedures for each company nominated. Plus, if you need to send a fax, a letter or return a form, it is provided. Letters and faxes are already written in your name and addressed, so you can just sign and send. Ready to start changing names? Click here.
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