How to Change Your Last Name

Friday 20 January 2012 - Filed under Info

If you want to change your last name, you must do it in a proper manner. And if you are residing in USA, you can surely change your last name just as you can change your name. The Laws and Constitution of United States allows its citizens the right to change their last name. As the judicial system in the United States is Federal, it takes into consideration two laws – Federal laws which are appliance to all states and secondly, the individual state laws. The last name change procedure varies from state to state. Depending on the state you reside, you need to follow certain rules and regulations laid down by individual state authorities. These rules are specifically applicable to residents of those states only. However, most of the basic steps are generally the same when it comes to changing your last name. If you are planning to change your last name, here is how you can do it:

Do your Homework: When planning to change your last name, listen to what your mother told you and ‘do your homework’! This is the best way to do the work in a proper way. You can check the procedure online and note down the major instructions. Remember that every state has its own procedure and you must be aware of it. If you know some lawyer you can also get information from them. You can even ask your family members and friends if they have some idea about the procedure to change your last name legally. 


Select a Last Name: You need to choose a last name for yourself. You need to be sure that the last name that you want is suitable and valid. As per law there are several words which cannot be adopted as last names. There are also certain dos and don’ts when it comes to selecting a last name. You cannot pick a celebrity’s name, a controversial name, or a name that could portray either race or religion in a wrongful manner. Keep these tips in mind when selecting a last as almost all the states in the USA are not in favor of such kind of last name change legally.


Get the Forms: You need to fill out a myriad of paperwork before you get to change your last name legally. Do, visit the local court and get the necessary name change forms that are required for the process. You can also obtain this form through a recognized website specializing in legal documents. Enter all the relevant details in the form along with the new last name that you have chosen. Make sure you spell it correctly so that it reduces hassles in the procedure! Also you need to get a list of documents which you may need to produce during the process.


Submit the Forms: Once you have filled up the name change form, it is time to file a ‘Petition to Change Last Name’ form with the court with the help of which the process of changing your last name legally starts up. Also file some notarized/attested identity proofs along with the petition court in order to establish the truth of your current name and also your identity details such as address, job profile, relatives, etc. Also you need provide details such as bankruptcy records, debts and criminal records or even illegitimate off springs and divorces. Upon filing the petition, you will get a receipt for the application to change your name. Your application will be reviewed and later on approved through a court order. For this whole process you need to wait for at least 10 days.


Cause for Change: Along with the petition, you also need to file an Order to Show Cause for Change of Name form. In this form you need to state the reasons why you want to change your last name. Disclose all facts truthfully, as it will be helpful in making the whole procedure smooth and fast. In case you are changing your last name after marriage and wish to adopt the last name of your husband, you need to have a marriage certificate. Well if you are changing your last name due to some other reasons, you need to tell the same.


Make Announcement Formally: Once your application is approved by the court, you need to formally announce the name change. You can publish an ad in any local newspaper or local community newsletter. In the case of copyright issues regarding your new last name, it must be settled by concerned parties. The settlement can be done within the court or through an out-of-court settlement. Following the publication of the advertisement, you will get a Decree Changing Name and a certified copy from the court. This will be the final approval for your new last name.


Update Other Documents: Once your last name is changed legally, make a list of important documents that needs to be updated with your new last name. The most important documents will be you social security card, driving license and passport. Other documents that also need to update with your new last name are marriage certificate, credit cards, bank documents, workplace identity cards, club membership cards, health insurance and so on. You need to apply at different offices for the necessary changes. For instance, for the social security information and number it would be at the SSA office for this purpose.


Inform Others: Last but not the least; you need to inform all your friends, relatives, acquaintances, colleagues and everyone else whom you know about the change of last name. This will help them to refer you with your new name in future. Remember that unless people don’t know about the change in your last name, there is no point in doing the same.


Well, changing your last name legally is usually not that complicated. It is generally a hassle-free process as long as you known the process properly. It is just a bit of time consuming process. However, if you think you can’t do it on your own or you don’t have enough time, you can always take help of an attorney who can guide you through the whole process to change your name legally

2012-01-20  »  writer

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