Changing Your Name? Maybe You Already Have!

I’m not changing my name. I don’t need to read this.” Think again.

While an outright change in name is not common, small variations and nick names are. The same is true with signatures. On the other hand, if you are always known by a name that is different from your legal name, this is, in effect, a name change lacking legal documentation. For legal reasons this can cause complications with signatures and documents.


Visit your notary public. Have an affidavit of name change made.

Why do variations in a name matter?

Even if your official name is in order, many people these days have nicknames and short forms that they are known by among friends or even at work. However, when this gets to the point of being a functional name change without the official documents to back it up, it’s worth taking the legal steps to ensure you can prove your identity.

So, let’s say your name is John, but everyone knows you as Tim. This may be fine in most situations. However, if sensitive itmes turn up, people who know you as “Tim” may wish to see stronger evidence that your official name is indeed “John.”

For example, you may need guarantors or witnesses if you are getting:

  • a passport
  • a visa
  • a new job

If they know you by a different name, you may need to provide an affidavit as support that both the official name and unofficial name belong to you.

What should you do about it?

You have two basic options:

  1. officially change your name (with an affidavit of name change)
  2. have an affidavit made stating that you go by both names

For most people, the logical choice is 2. But you can discuss the ins and outs of both options with your notary public.

In both cases, you will need to visit a notary public and have an affidavit of name change drafted, even if you are simply verifying a alias. You will need to bring official ID so the notary can verify who you are. You will then swear an oath concerning the other names you go by.

Does your signature have variations?

Another very similar issue has to do with signatures. Signature affidavits can verify that your signature is authentic, but they can also attest to variations of your signature.

For example, perhaps without thinking about it, you sign a maiden name, include a middle name or initial in some signatures, but exclude it in others.

For commercial and legal purposes, this could cause complications and even make a document invalid or legally void.

An affidavit of signature attests, under oath, that the variations of your signature are, in fact, yours and are legally valid.

If you have variations of your name or signature, contact us at Golden Notary to help you keep these items in order.

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