Have you ever considered changing your name, but wondered about the costs involved? There are many reasons that a person may desire to change their names or need to even. When considering the cost of a name change, there are legal fees to be considered as well as other cost factors. We'ver researched the topic to get a better idea of what a name change consists of and how much it really costs, all things considered, and here is what we found
It depends on which state you live in
The cost of changing your name will vary from one state to another. From what we've discovered, the price tag for court and filing fees can range from as low as $150 to as high as $500. What really costs the most is obtaining the court order. You can hire a lawyer to assist you, but it really isn't necessary and it will drive up the costs by double or more, so a do-it-yourself method is highly recommended.
Accessing the forms
As we alluded to before, each state requires their own set of processes and required documentation. There is no single fee that is set for all 50 states, so you'll need to check on the internet to find out how much your state charges. The best place to start is with the documentation. Most of this information is available through the county-sponsored website for the area in which you reside. Requirements and fees can even vary from one county to another within a state. On average, most counties charge a filing fee of $25 per document. In some instances, forms can be obtained free of charge from the courthouse or you can purchase generic versions of the forms.
Types of forms required
Although there may be some variations in the types of forms required by your county, the standard procedure is to complete a petition for name change form. It may also be called an Affidavit of Name Change. You complete the form and file it with the court clerk and pay the fee that is required. Some may only require one form while others will require you to submit other documentation to go with this. After the order is made by the court, there is usually a small fee that ranges between $15 to $25 to receive a copy of the order.
Most commonly required documents for completing a name change
After your name change has legally been ordered by the court, there are other processes you'll need to complete right away. You'll need to take proof of the name change and update your driver's license or state identification card. In some cases, there is no fee, but some areas will charge a full renewal fee. This step will also need to be completed for your passport. You will need to have a certified copy of the court order to complete this. If it's been more than a year since the passport was issued, you may need to pay a fee for the photo which is usually around $10. You will also need to take a certified copy of your court order to the county clerk and have your birth certificate updated. The fees usually range between $20 to $25 for this.
Other records you need to update
If you have any bank accounts, replacement checks for a checking account, credit cards and other financial accounts, you'll also need to make the changes with these entities. You will also need to go to the Social Security Administration and take a certified copy of the court order to have the name on your social security card legally changed. Also follow up with an update for your insurance policies, your voter registration, your investment and retirement accounts, your medical insurance, life insurance and with your employer. Most of these changes do not require you to pay a fee.
This gives you an idea of the total cost of having your name legally changed. For the exact amounts, the process of searching through your home county's posted information for requirements and associated fees doesn't cost you anything and neither do the forms to begin the process. You'll be able to get a more precise figure.
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Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson