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Can Changing Your Name Help Avoid Debt?

Updated on May 14, 2012

So you wanna change your name.

A name change is a legal act that exists in most legal systems including the US and UK. A name change allows a person to change their own name to practically whatever they would like as long as long as the name does not violate a trademark, use obscenities, symbols or numbers (Roman Numerals are allowed). Do you want to now how to change your name in the US or UK? Do you think a name change can help you clear your debt?


Name Change In The US

In the US the laws that apply to a name change vary from state to state, however they are very similar. In Colorado, like many states, the process to change your name begins by filing a Petition in the District or County Court where the Petitioner resides. The Petition includes the Petitioner's full name, the name wished to be assumed and a concise reason for the requested name change. The name change cannot negatively impact anyone else's interests. In some states if you have already had your name changed for reasons other than marriage or divorce you may not be able to change it again. Lawyers must notify the state bar; ex cons must notify the Criminal Justice System and immigrants must notify Immigration and Naturalization Services. Everyone that changes their name must advertise or announce their new name. This announcement gives the public a chance to object to the name change if a debt is owed under the current name. The announcement can be made by publishing the information in the local newspaper.


Do Not Try To Avoid Debt With A Name Change

Wishful thinking has probably helped spread the rumor that changing your name will clear your debt. In the US a name change will not affect your debt because the debt is tied to a social security number (SSN) and a birthdate. A name change does not affect your social security number or birthdate. And a SSN cannot be changed except in particular types of identity theft. In both the US and UK your name change cannot imply fraudulent intent. This means you can not change your name in order to avoid bankruptcy by pretending to be someone else in an attempt to avoid a debt.


Name Change In The UK

In the UK no forms are necessary. However, banks and government organizations may not recognize your name change without a Deed Poll. A Deed Poll is just a letter to yourself declaring that you are giving up your old name. A Deed Poll is a legal document binding only one party it is not a contract because it expresses an intention rather than a promise. In the UK creditors will ask if you have ever changed your name and if you are not honest they will look at this as fraudulent and be unlikely to extend credit. Just like in the US creditors will ask for a signature declaring that you have not changed your name to avoid paying off debts.


What's in a name anyway? Remember that often times the hardest part about changing your name is changing all your old information with your old name on it. So do you still want to change your name?

What's in a name?

Do you like your name?

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