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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Correcting name on legal documents

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: My middle initial is "C" but when I got married I stated using the first letter of my maiden name "K" as the middle initial. Now I have documents and investment accounts with each form of the name. Which one should I use?

A: While this was a common practice for women over the past decades, it will eventually cause you headaches when conducting important transactions. You may not even be able to renew your driver's license or take an overseas flight if one of your IDs shows a conflicting middle initial. All of your identifications (bank cards, passport, insurance card, and insurance policies and financial accounts should have EXACTLY the same name. Not even a single letter should vary. They should match exactly the name on your birth certificate unless you have had a legal name change, in which case you should have official proof of the name change. It is worth your time now to contact each issued of identifying documents to make sure that your name is exactly correct.


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