Typical Fees for Legally Changing Your Name

Posted on: 22 July 2015


The law does not bar you from changing your name. If you feel like adopting a new name, you can just start using it as long as it's in line with the name-change restrictions. This route won't cost you any money. However, you will agree that such an informal name change isn't convenient. You will be introducing yourself with a different name from the one in your official documents or even property deeds.

If you want to change your name on these things too, then you have to go through a formal process and have a court order certifying your new name. This will cost you some money; some of the fees you will have to cater for include the following.

Court Filling

As with any court order, you must file the requisite forms, which act as an application for your name change. This fee depends on your state; it is a one-time fee that you have to pay upfront. As an example, the state of Massachusetts has a filing fee of $150.

Fee for Certified Copies

After changing your name, you must have some sort of evidence to show other interested parties. Your friends may take your word for it, but many organizations will need proof of your new name. For example, your bank, employer, and the Department of Motor Vehicles will need to see this proof.

Since you can't risk lugging your original name-change document (even those who need the document would not want that), you make certified copies of it. A certified copy is a photocopy that has an official seal on it marking it as a copy of the real thing. This fee depends on the number of copies you need, as well as the length of the document.

Publication Fees

You also need to publicize your name change in a newspaper. This gives anybody who would be opposed to your new name the chance to raise an objection. The fee depends on the publication or publications and how many times the notice needs to be published.

Birth Certificate Fees

You can't have a different name from that on your birth certificate, so you need to change this too. This part is handled by the department of vital records; the process depends on your state. Here also you will need to part with a small fee.

Attorney Fees

You may also have to pay some legal fees. You don't need an attorney to change your name; you can just do it on your own. There are even online services (automated that you can use). However, legal issues are always best handled by lawyers like Joanna Cobleigh Esq. What if someone opposes your new name?

This is not an exhaustive list of the fees you have to part with. Some fees may vary depending on your state. If you engage a local attorney, however, then he or she will give you an upfront cost of what to expect to spend provided nobody objects to your application.