Ask the County Law Librarian: Who Do I Notify After a Name Change?
Q. Hi Law Librarian,
I recently did a name change through the Sacramento court. I changed my birth certificate already, but what else should I change? I know I need to change my driver’s license, passport, and social security card. I also own two pieces of property under my old name. How do I change the deeds to my current name?
A. Hello Otis,
There are more agencies and businesses to contact than you might think. As you mentioned, you should change your name on real estate deeds, social security card, passport, and driver’s license. You need to change your name on any vehicle registrations, too – this is not changed automatically when you change your license.
You should also change your name with any other public agencies you deal with, such as the post office, voter registration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or public assistance and benefit agencies. As long as you change your employment records, you should not need to notify the IRS, but you do need to notify the California Franchise Tax Board. Be prepared to provide a copy of your new social security card and California ID.
You should also change your name with your employer and any businesses you use regularly, such as banks, credit cards, and mortgages; insurance companies; telephone and utility companies; and other debtors and creditors. You should update any legal documents such as wills, powers of attorney, trusts, and contracts.
In order to change the name on your deeds, you should record a new grant deed. You can download a blank grant deed from the “free forms” section of our website, or pick one up at the Law Library or many stationery stores or title companies.
The grant should be filled out as “[New name], who acquired title under the former name of [Former Name], hereby grants to [New Name] the following property.” For instance, if your old name was Jeremy Smith, and your new name is Otis Jones, you would write “Otis Jones, who acquired title under the former name of Jeremy Smith, hereby grants to Otis Jones the following property.” The deed must then be notarized and recorded with the county recorder where the property is located.
The Nolo Press book How to Change Your Name in California is a great resource for how to go about changing your name with the various agencies and businesses you may need to contact. Chapter 10, “How to Get Your New Name Accepted,” lists all kinds of agencies and businesses and provides addresses and instructions for many of them. You can find this book at the Sacramento County Public Law Library, other public libraries, or major booksellers including nolo.com.
Do you have a question for the County Law Librarian? Just email firstname.lastname@example.org. If your question is selected your answer will appear in next Thursday’s column. Even if your question isn’t selected, though, I will still respond within two weeks.