Name Changes & Legality

Recently as marriage equality and identity classifications have been critiqued more closely by the LGBTQ community, here’s some info about name changes.

Basically it’s not that difficult.

Anybody can change their name legally. Just make sure it is not to commit fraud or make a false identity.

The simplest and most common is when people marry.

Today’s customs and attitudes about marriage lets women keep a “maiden name” or allows for a hyphenated name.

Hyphenated names are used in England. Historically, it has been part of the class or caste-system in English society. Hyphenated names were passed down as a way to signify that two or more family lines were joined together.

In some instances, men are recognizing the unique qualities of using a hyphenated name.  This is done to express affection and to note the legal union with a life-partner.

It is easy to make use of a middle name or add a nickname. This is common, especially for difficult to pronounce names or long names that get abbreviated.

The crucial thing when making any name change is that it is documented.

Employers can handle this readily and tactfully with a W-2 form and or a I-9 form. These forms deal with wages and benefits.

A name does sound sweet when spoken by friends, family and that special significant other/partner. Yet a name is most necessary when dealing with property, wages and yes…taxes!

The Internal Revenue Service requires that the name on a employee’s paycheck, benefit portfolio and tax documents match that person’s Social Security Number.

A note attached to a I-9 form can reference the new or preferred name.

This is important, especially for benefits, processing of claims, etc.

If going through a major life transition, such as marriage/partnership or as some say “reinventing oneself” think about the name you add, or adopt for the next phase or rest of your life.

An attorney who is well versed in taxes, HR, businesses, estate planning, wills-trusts and partnerships can help.

For more info contact any of our lawyers

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