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Who to Notify After a Legal Name Change

People change their name for a variety of reasons. Some do so when they get married or divorced. Others change their name simply to pick something they like better. Whatever your reasons, you need to update certain legal documents and notify government agencies of any name change. Nobody else will do this for you, which is a common misconception.

It’s your responsibility to notify the appropriate government agencies. Below, our Aiken, SC family law attorney identifies the most important people to tell.

Notify Social Security of Your Name Change

It’s probably best to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) of your name change. You must update your name with SSA at least 48 hours before updating your driver’s license name. Also, you need to update with SSA before you file your taxes because your name on the tax forms needs to match the name in SSA’s database. We recommend contacting SSA as soon as possible.

You can change your name with SSA by visiting an office in person or by mail. Unfortunately, online updating is not available.

You will need to present the following to SSA:

· A certified document showing the name change, such as your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order.

· A completed Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card.

· Proof of your identity, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued identification card.

· Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as your birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, or certificate of citizenship.

Any document you use must be either an original or a certified copy. You can also find your nearest SSA office by visiting their website.

Update Your South Carolina Driver’s License or State ID Card

To get a new driver’s license with your correct name, you should visit a Department of Motor Vehicles branch and bring the following:

· A completed Application for Name and/or Address Change (Form 4057).

· A completed Application for a Beginner’s Permit, Driver’s License, or Identification Card (Form 447-NC).

· A marriage license or court order.

Remember, you must have changed your name with the Social Security Administration at least 48 hours before changing your driver’s license or state-issued ID card. Don’t skip that step.

You also have a chance to get a REAL ID if you do not already have one. A REAL ID is necessary to enter a federal courthouse or go through TSA security at an airport. You will need to present the following:

· Proof of identity, such as an unexpired US passport or government-issued birth certificate.

· Two proofs of current physical address.

· Proof of legal name, such as court order, marriage license, or divorce decree.

You will also have to pay a fee, which will depend on whether you get a regular driver’s license or a Real ID.

Get a New Passport

International travelers should contact the State Department to update their name. This is a critical step, especially if you don’t have a Real ID. Many people use their passports to go through security at the airport, even if they are flying domestically.

Visit the State Department website for information on how to change your name. The form you fill out will depend on whether you have had your passport for less than a year or more than a year.

Contact Banks & Other Financial Institutions

All of your financial institutions need notification of your new name. This will make it easier to cash checks and protect you from identity theft. You should update your personal information with any:

· Bank

· Credit union

· Credit card company

· Mortgage provider

· Lender

· Insurer

If you do online banking, you should look to see if you can update online, which is sometimes an option. Otherwise, you should contact the financial institution directly. They probably have forms that you need to fill out. Remember to keep a copy in your files.

Tell Your Employer

You will want your new name on your paycheck. You might also have employer-sponsored benefit plans, such as health insurance. Ask your employer if you should contact the insurers directly or if HR will notify them of the name change.

Notify Your Medical Providers

You should contact your doctor, dentist, and other medical provider. Also contact your health insurer. You want an insurance card with your correct name.

Problems can arise if you seek medical care and then a bill is sent to your insurer with the wrong name on it. Ultimately, the insurer will probably pay the bill because it will have other identifying information (like your Social Security Number). But you can head off any confusion and not deal with the headaches later if you simply update the name with all medical providers.

Contact Your Child’s School

Many schools have increased security. Consequently, you might need to show a driver’s license to even get inside the building. You obviously do not want to be showing a license with a name the school is unfamiliar with. They might not even let you inside!

Call the school and tell them that you have changed your name. Ask them what steps you need to follow next. This way, you are protected.

Notify the Post Office

Stop into your local branch and tell them of the change in your name.

Do You Have to Contact Your Gym, Bookstore, and Coffee Bar?

Many people have memberships with these businesses. Should you update the name on file? You certainly can do so, which will avoid any confusion in the future. However, updating is probably a lower priority.

For example, your coffee rewards program probably uses your phone or email address, not your name. You can still gain access to your gym with a key card.

You can probably update whenever you renew your membership. That is a convenient time, and the staff might notice the different name on your credit card anyway.

Helping Clients with Divorce and Name Changes

Contact Surasky Law Firm if you have any questions about changing your name or divorce. We have years of experience and are happy to guide you through the process.


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