Where to change your name

Where to change your name

Well done on making the decision to change names. There’s countless reasons why people make the change. Marriage name change is the most common, but anyone changing names from divorce or by court ordered legal name change will still need to go through the same process to update accounts and identification.

No matter what your reason for changing names, you’ll need to start your name change with some kind of proof of your new name. If taking your spouse’s surname in place of, or in addition to your own, you’ll only need your marriage certificate. You can revert to a maiden name or prior name with a divorce order. And finally, if you are changing your name for any other reason you’ll need a court order that states your full old and new names. Next you’ll need to tell the world about your new name, so we’ve prepared a list of where to change names.


1. First, change your name with the Social Security Administration.

To notify SSA of your new name, you’ll need to complete form SS-5 ‘Application for a Social Security Card’. Most other government departments will check the name on your SSA record and update their records with the same name, so there’s no point updating your license or passport until the SSA has made the change. 


2. Then update all your identification and government records

Once you have proof of your SSA records being updated you can change the name on your drivers license and passport. The new name on your identification must exactly match your SSA records. IRS and Medicare records are automatically updated by the SSA, so you don’t need to do anything here. If you are a registered voter you should update your voter registration.


3. Notify each organization where you hold an account or membership

Each organization sets their own name change process. Most will accept your marriage certificate, divorce decree or legal name change order. If you are requesting your name change in person you may be asked to show updated photo ID first, which is why it’s important to notify the SSA and change your identification first.

The only way to know what procedure to follow with each company is to get on the phone and call around. A few companies may post their name change procedure online. You can also ask in person where practical, such as when you go past your bank, visit the doctor or library.

Some organizations will have a special form, some may need you to send a letter. A few companies may allow name change over the phone, but with increasing security measures proof is usually required.


4.Tell family and friends 

This may seem obvious, but so many people overlook notifying family and friends of their new name. For the new bride, her new married name is often included on the thank-you card, but for divorcees and anyone changing their name legally it’s a bit more tricky. Friends can feel awkward if they call you by the wrong name, only to be corrected in front of a group, after all, how were they to know your name has changed unless you tell them? For the digitally connected, changing Facebook name might take care of most people, and there’s also Christmas cards or just a good old fashioned phone call.


5.Less thought about places to change names

There are many infrequently used accounts where you only realize your name has not been changed many month, or even years afterwards. In some cases these records are not linked to anywhere and it may not matter if your name change is not notified. This may include video libraries, gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, wine clubs and so on.

Infrequently accessed accounts are also likely to be forgotten. This may include your 401k, term deposits, share holdings, property titles and so on. It’s a good idea to proactively manage our name change with such institutions as it may take some time, and when you need to access these accounts you don’t want to be held back because of conflicting proof of identity.

Finally, don’t forget to change your name in your digital life. Your name change checklists should include social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, Google Plus+. Update your voicemail greeting. You might choose to get a new email address, or your workplace may issue you with a new email.


Do it yourself or outsource the admin?

The best way to start changing names is to download the free Easy Name Change kit. It provides all the name change forms for state and federal agencies, plus a customizable checklist. The Easy Name Change Guide comes with all free kits and explains the process. Just read through the guide, note down all the organizations you need to contact in the checklist then call each one to check their name change procedure.

If you've got better things to do than spend hours on hold, for just a little extra we can also provide comprehensive name change procedures and paperwork for hundreds more companies. Just sit back and let Easy Name Change send you a ready to send letter or fax, or that company’s special name change form. Name change kits start from $20, are instantly delivered and will save you about 5 hours of research and hassle. 


There’s probably 15 to 20 places to change your name, but don’t be put off! There’s an order to the madness.

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