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Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.

How to Change Your Name Legally

Are you considering a name change? It’s definitely not a decision to be taken lightly, but if it feels like the right thing for you, there are some things you’ll need to do in order to make the process as smooth as possible. Here’s a guide on how to change your name!

Find Your State’s Name Change Requirements

Each state has its policies regarding the name change process. It is important to consider that a name change has to be done through the courts to be legal. Most states require individuals to fill out a name change form and then submit a petition with the court to get permission. The court will be very cautious with this step because they want to be sure that you’re changing your name for particularly good reasons. For example, if you’re not trying to conceal your identity from someone, use a celebrity’s name, etc. 

After the judge reviews your forms, a final decision will be made on whether this will be granted. If the name change is granted, the individual will know that they have legally gotten a name change and will be on their way with the new name. The final step would then be letting others know publicly that you’ve gotten a name change. 

Find Your State's Name Change Requirements

Gather The Required Documents and Fees

On someone’s birth certificate is their official name. Still, sometimes individuals would like to have their name changed for various reasons, such as after a divorce, marriage, adoption, etc. Each state is different regarding the fees one has to pay; the cost could be under or over $100 or as high as $500.  Someone may also choose to hire an attorney, so legal fees will also be included if this is done.

Gather The Required Documents and Fees

Complete The Legal Process By Filing Paperwork With a Court or County Clerk

In most states, it is required that someone files their name change paperwork with the courts or county clerk. It’s the most suitable way to get it done because many government agencies and financial institutions require proof of name change. There are also some vital documents like your birth certificate, passport, etc., that would require legal proof of your name change. 

Complete The Legal Process

Update All of Your Important Documents

It’s also important to update all necessary documents like your social security cards, bank account details, driver’s license, passports, etc. This proves that you have gone through the legal name change process and have not been accused of committing fraud. 

One other significant aspect of a legal name change is to let others know you have done so. The most common persons you may first tell that you have done so are your family members and friends, but you must also update others like:

  • Telephone and utility companies
  • Your employers
  • Insurance companies
  • Financial institutions
  • Schools
  • Creditors
  • Your state’s taxing authority
  • Registrar of voters


Update All of Your Important Documents

Change Your Name on Facebook and Other Social Media Sites To Match What You’ve Legally Changed It To 

There are different ways one can change their name on social media, depending on the social network. Most times, changing your name can be done by going through that site’s settings. Some people may forget social media, but friends on Facebook and other social media sites may also need to know that you’ve gone through the name change process and have a new name.

Social Media Sites To Match What You've Legally

How To Change The Name Of The Owner On A House Title

Get New Business Cards With Your New Name on Them If Necessary

If you own a business putting your new name on your business card is also necessary. The personal information contained on there would let your clients know that you’ve gone through the process.

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Nothing implied or stated on this page should be construed to be legal, tax, or professional advice. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm and this page should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. For questions regarding your specific situation, please consult a qualified attorney.