|Here comes the bride's name change
How to get the word out
Now that you know who to notify, what's the best way to get them
The process varies by institution. Some will let you
change the name on your account just by making a call. Others require
a letter or a specific form. It's rarer, but in some instances in
addition to completing a special form, you also must get it signed
and submit a certified copy of a government or court order to document
Written notification is a good way to make the change.
You can use Bankrate.com's form
letter for all your notifications so that you don't have to
compose a separate one for each account.
You also can make the changes as statements and bills
arrive in your mailbox. Most have forms on the back of statements
for name or address changes.
"In case you're not sure you've remembered everyone,
every time you get mail addressed to your old name, stick it in
a pile and respond to them once a month," says Eva Rosenberg,
publisher of TaxMama.com.
"In about six months, you will have notified anyone that matters."
Getting outside help
If you don't have a lot of spare time or don't feel confident about
accomplishing your name change on your own, there is help out there,
much of it online. A Google search for "name change kit"
yielded more than 99,000 results. Of those Bankrate.com inspected,
prices ranged from $14.95 to nearly $50.
"The advantage of those kits can be that they
have contact information for many entities all in one place and
you can use them as a checklist," says Rosenberg, who recommends
kitbiz.com as a low-cost ($24.95) and effective kit.
Brides often use these kits because they take the
guesswork out of the process and can help them get organized. But
paying for the appropriate paperwork isn't necessary; it's just
"All they do is send you the forms you could
pick up yourself," says Ingram. Plus, she warns, your online
purchase of a kit could set you up to receive a lot of spam.
Smith agrees. He says he created the Bridelaw.com,
a free online name-change resource, to assist those who are confused
by the process and "to prevent them from falling prey to those
who overcharge for what are otherwise free government forms."
"And remember, if you get divorced, you'll have
to do it all over again," says Rosenberg.
Jenny C. McCune is a contributing
editor based in Montana.