change name
photo credit: Nanagyei via photopin cc

How to Change Your Name Safely and Successfully

change name
photo credit: Nanagyei via photopin cc

If you’re getting married soon and have begun thinking about changing your name, follow these tips to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Grab a new accordion folder to keep up with applications, instructions and certified copies and read on:

Guard Against Identity Theft

It isn’t difficult, but the process of changing your name is an odd combination of state and federal bureaucracy. Because planning a wedding is stressful, you may be tempted to hire a name-changing service rather than do it all yourself. We don’t suggest it; the necessary documents to change a name are sensitive, and they should only be in the hands of people who are acting in an official capacity. In the wrong hands, these documents could put you at risk for identity theft, according to LifeLock’s FaceBook page.

Obtain Certified Copies of Your Marriage License

You should obtain two or three certified copies of your marriage license from the state. In most cases, these are held in the clerk of court’s office in the county, city or parish in which your wedding took place. Take special care to protect these licenses, and provide the certified copies only when required to do so by law.

Obtain a New Social Security Card

Visit the Social Security Administration website to review the required documents to obtain a new Social Security card. You can also print out and complete an application for a new card.

The instructions have yet to be rewritten to reflect updated requirements to combat identity theft. Originally, a card could be issued with a mail application and the necessary documents. Now, however, one must make a personal visit to the local Social Security office with the necessary documents. A new card is mailed to you within a week or so.

Obtain a New Driver’s License

Depending upon your state of residence, you may be required to have your new Social Security card in hand for a minimum amount of time to apply for a new driver’s license. Other states issue new driver’s licenses independent of the Social Security Administration, based on their own review of required paperwork. Many people find they are asked for proof of their name change in the form of a new driver’s license, presumably because the document provides the means to make a comparison between the individual requesting the name change to an agency and the photograph on the license.

Also Contact

Don’t forget to change your name on the following documents or organizations, according to

  • Passport
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Health insurance company
  • Investment accounts
  • Employer HR and payroll department
  • Gym Clubs
  • Home and car insurance policies
  • Automobile registration
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