Smile. The hard part is over! As soon as the judge signs your order, you can start using your new name for every legal purpose. Until you update your ID though, you may need to answer questions about multiple name variations. After going through the lengthy process of obtaining a legal name change, learning you succeeded and received an official court order authorizing your name change is certainly a big relief. But the work isn’t quite done at that point.
Perhaps the most fun, yet arduous part remains – going through the tedious administrative process of updating your new name everywhere you need. Some people need to update only one ID, such as getting a Real ID or a Passport. Others will need to get everything changed over. So what exactly should you do after receiving approval of your name change?
Here is a comprehensive look at important post-approval steps:
Obtain Certified Court Order Copies
After receiving word your name change petition was approved by the court, immediately obtain at least 1 certified cop of the official court order from the clerk, with the judge’s formal seal prominently showing.Get 2 Certified Copies if you can, and keep 1 in a safe place where you can find it later if you need it.
This court order is the fundamental legal document affirming your new name. Certified copies may cost $5-$40 each but are permanent proof, honored everywhere. Losing the order would require getting another one from that same court and that may not be very convenient years later.
Update Government IDs and Accounts First
Core priority one after the court order is updating federal documents, licenses, and payment profiles.
- Social Security – Update social security card, retirement accounts, disability benefits, etc.
- IRS – Notify the IRS to change your name on tax records. File an updated W-9 with employers.
- U.S. Passport – Apply for a passport reflecting new name; may require appointment.
- Driver’s License – Acquire new license with updated name from DMV.
- Voter registration – Change registration name so new name matches election polls.
- Insurance – Contact health, dental, vision, life and other insurers to update.
- Financial accounts – Change name on bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards, lending accounts, title companies.
Updating government and commercial identity records legitimizes your new name across essential daily functions.
Notify The Ones You Interact With Regularly
Before tackling notice to acquaintances and occasional vendors,, notify important contacts likely to regularly interact with you:
- Employers – Update payroll, email, company directory, and any professional licenses or certifications.
- Doctors – Ensure medical records are updated so you don’t encounter issues with insurance claims down the road.
- Schools – If currently enrolled, change student records to reflect your updated legal name.
- Transactions – If purchasing property, closing deals, or engaged in legal disputes, alert relevant parties.
This limits potential confusion communicating with those interfacing with you regularly. Just wait to inform wider circles until the change is further along.
Change Name on Public Utilities and Other Vendors
Don’t forget monthly household accounts:
- Electricity – Change name on electric accounts.
- Water – Update name on any municipal water billing.
- Gas company – Revise account names for gas utilities.
- Internet/cable – Contact providers to alter name on broadband and cable accounts.
- Security – Modify alarm/security system billing to new legal name.
- Garbage/sewer – If billed separately, update name for waste management services.
- Phone – Adjust mobile and landline accounts as needed.
Streamline recurring public services by naming your new identity consistently across all household utility accounts.
Revise Memberships and Subscriptions
Also swap your name out in member networks like:
- Professional associations – Align alumni, union, or trade memberships with current name.
- Loyalty programs – Change name on points/rewards accounts with airlines, hotels, retailers, etc.
- Gyms and clubs – Update gym, country club, yoga studio etc. memberships.
- Media subscriptions – Tweak name on newspaper, streaming service, cable TV subscriptions.
- Religious groups – Adjust name in church or temple directories.
- Affinity programs – Change alumni society, donor circles, cooperative memberships.
Maintaining ongoing memberships and subscriptions under your consistent new identity avoids complications accessing benefits and services tied to those programs in the future.
Modify Property Records
For real estate you currently own or rent, modify when it’s convenient:
- Property deeds – File adjustments to appear as proper owner if homeowner.
- Lease – Inform landlord and amend lease agreements.
- Insurance – Shift home and/or renters insurance over into new name.
- Mortgage – Contact lender(s) to change your legal name on any property loans.
- HOA – If part of a homeowners association, advise of name change.
- Storage – Self-storage and parking rental contacts.
If attached to properties, keep your name current on formal records to prevent troubles down the road. Keep a copy of your name change court order with any legal papers in your old legal name.
Modify Legal, Retirement, and Estate Plans
Also make name adjustments regarding future plans:
- Will – Change name on last will and testaments.
- Trusts – Update any existing trusts.
- Beneficiaries – Alter listed beneficiaries named on accounts as needed.
- Power of attorney – Appoint someone under your new legal name.
- Health directives – Change names on living wills and medical POA forms.
- Retirement plans – Alter name on pension accounts to enable future disbursements.
- Life insurance – Work with carriers to update names on policies.
Keeping directories, contacts, and instructions regarding future final wishes and assets accurate avoids unnecessary complications for family later on. Wait until you update your document for a more important reason so you don’t spend money unnecessarily.
Adjust Personal Details
Finally, tweak any remaining personal identifying details, like:
- Email – Change name on email accounts and email signatures.
- Social media – Update display name on profiles.
- Professional profiles – Sites like LinkedIn should reflect current name.
- Memberships – Gym, AAA, alumni associations, etc.
- Loyalty programs – Airlines, hotel, retail accounts listings.
- References – Update resumes and online profiles.
Completing this laundry list of tasks serves to fully align all aspects of your identity, financials, memberships, subscriptions, documents, records, and instructions with your new legal name. While tedious, properly establishing your new name far and wide allows smoothly functioning with your new moniker.
With diligence and thoroughness, your new name will soon become just “your name”, and you can finally enjoy the benefits after all the effort undertaking a major legal name change entails. Just take the process step-by-step to avoid overwhelming yourself along the way.