Some brides take on the name of their new husband…and some brides don’t…but that doesn’t mean that for those who do that it doesn’t have to be a seamless & easy process. Here is an interview with the owner of Name Change Express.

1)       What inspired you to start Name Change Express?

  1. My own personal experience.   After we got married, my wife was incredibly busy, initially with a career at Intel Corporation and subsequently in management consulting with Deloitte Consulting and Booz & Company (formerly Booz Allen Hamilton).  She simply couldn’t find the time to figure out how to change her name and with travelling every week for her consulting career, she finally told me that “if you want me to take your name, then you must do it for me”.
  2. I said sure, how hard could it be and started to look for services to help us through this and not finding any comprehensive service, I came up with the idea of introducing a service to help brides through this.  Since 9 out of 10 brides decide to change their name, we realized that many others could be going through the same difficulties we experienced – we wanted to help.  I conducted market research through my classes in business school and determined that an overwhelming majority of brides surveyed were confused about the name change process and strongly valued services to assist.

2)      What tips would you give to couples pondering name changes?

  1. We recommend that couples discuss one another’s preferences well in advance of the wedding date.  It’s very important to not take for granted what preferences someone may have around changing their name.  While some brides are very excited changing their name, others are unsure if they want to and see it as a way of losing their identity.  Others will also outright say that they will definitely not change their name.  Add to this that some states will require that they declare what they would like their names to be after the wedding when applying for a marriage license, then it becomes even more important to have this discussion early on.
  2. Keep in mind that there are many options today to maintain your identity but to still feel like a part of your spouse if that is what you would like to do.  Some popular options today include:
    1. i.      Retaining your maiden name as your middle name
    2. ii.      Hyphenating your maiden name and your spouse’s last name as your new last name

3)      What is the name change process?

  1. The act of getting married allows you to change your name so once you have your certified marriage certificate in hand then you can start changing your name.
  2. Start by notifying the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Fill out form SS-5 and while you can mail it in, we recommend that you visit your local SSA office to apply for the name change to avoid having to mail in original documents like your driver’s license and original marriage certificate.
  3. After applying for a name change with the SSA, inform your employer to ensure that your wages are posted correctly to your Social Security record.
  4. The SSA will then notify the IRS of the change but if your address has changed then you should notify the IRS by filling out form 8822.
  5. Next you should go in person to your local driver licensing division and apply for an updated driver’s license with your new name; note that while states don’t typically enforce this rule, many do require that you update your driver’s license within 30 days of having gotten married.  Some states also require that you apply for an updated driver’s license after 24-72 hours of notifying the SSA as they do verification with the SSA and other states require that you have an updated Social Security card in hand when applying.  The bottom line is that you should make sure you understand the rules in your state to save yourself a trip and to get it done the first time.
    1. i.      Note that Name Change Express does inform you of the specific rules for your state if you purchase our $30 package.
  6. Next you should notify other government agencies like for the US Passport Agency and Voter’s Registration.
  7. Lastly you should notify everyone else that you do business with.  This includes banks, credit card companies, insurance institutions, mortgage and other loan companies, investment providers, utilities, medical providers, loyalty programs, professional licenses, communications and entertainment, memberships, and subscriptions.
  8. Many people that are changing their names end up with 25-30 organizations that they must inform so we recommend that you start building a list of who you must inform even before you get married; that way, you’ll have a very complete list when you’re ready to start and won’t be stuck when you forget to update an airline for example but then end up traveling on it (it can be a real hassle to try to get frequent flyer mileage credit after the fact).
    1. i.      You can use the Name Change Express site to build this list at no cost to you.

4)      What sets NCE apart from other name changing companies?

  1. We believe several key areas set us apart from other name change services:
    1. i.      1 – We’re the only name change service that provides company-specific name change requirements for 100’s of companies across the U.S.;  this includes companies like Citibank, American Express, Geico, United Airlines and many, many more.  We let clients who purchase the $30 service know exactly what these companies require to process their name, where they have to mail notification letters, and what documents must be included.  Our clients love this aspect of our service as it really sets us apart from our competitors.  We’ve even had clients email us saying that because of this one feature alone that even though they purchased a competitor’s service, they ended up switching to us.
      1. And if we don’t already have a company in our database that a client needs to inform, clients can submit the company to us, we’ll research it and make it available quickly.
      2. ii.      2 – We strongly believe in the freemium model, where companies encourage potential clients to try out services at no cost to the client.  We are the only name change service that allows brides to do this and have set up our service to allow brides and others wanting to change their name to receive a free personalized guidebook to get started with their name change with the relevant federal agencies.  The guidebook includes all of the instructions and forms they’ll need to get started.  Overall clients have been very satisfied with our free package and many choose to upgrade to our $30 service.
      3. iii.      3 – We don’t request or collect any sensitive information on the website.  Information like account numbers and social security numbers are never asked for on the website.  Instead, we’ve built patent-pending technology in the PDF guidebook that you download that allows you to enter your sensitive information one time and have it propagated to all of the forms and notification letters that requires it.  In fact, you don’t even have to be connected to the web while entering this information.  We believe this is the best way to protect your privacy and identity: to simply not ask for it.

5)      What trends are you seeing in name changing?

  1. For our clients, the most popular option is for brides to retain their maiden name as their middle name.
  2. We also have some clients that choose to hyphenate their maiden name and spouse’s last name.
  3. Additionally, one of the most interesting trends we’ve seen, though small in number, is that we’ve seen married men choosing to change their last names to their wife’s last name.

6)      Many women are deciding not to change their name. Why do think some women still change their name?

  1. It’s certainly true that many women are deciding not to change their name but recent studies show that about 90% of women still do change their last name after marriage.
  2. In speaking with our clients and others getting married, women seem to still want to change their name for multiple reasons:
    1. i.      Some women feel more ‘connected’ by sharing a name with their spouse; we hear again and again of stories of women who simply can’t wait to become Mrs. HisLastName.  Some have been even dreaming of this since their early school days when they were doodling Mrs. So and So.
    2. ii.      Some women choose to change their name for convenience, especially with children so kids are not confused about two different last names; also kids’ schools can sometimes also get confused when dealing with parents with different last names.
    3. iii.      Other women change their name as they feel that their spouse’s last name may be better than their own and some women see this as a way to ‘get rid’ of a terrible last name.

7)      In the wake of gay marriage legalization in several states, how are you adapting your services to be inclusive to same-sex couples?

  1. In those states where gay marriage has been legalized, newlywed couples should have no issue using our service in that all of the instructions and forms we provide are applicable since these couples receive a government-issued marriage certificate, which is required by the SSA to update a name on their records.
  2. We have been in touch with the SSA and they have verified that couples with this in hand or even a domestic partnership certificate should have no issue updating their name with the SSA, which is really the first place to start.
  3. However, in practice, some same sex-couples may run into issues at their local SSA office as not all offices are aware of the procedures to follow in such cases.  But couples should ask to speak to a manager if they do run into issues and feel rest assured that they have met the requirements of the SSA to change their name when they have a government-issued marriage certificate in hand.
  4. Couples who live in states that have not legalized same-sex marriage can consider going to court to apply for a name change.  Once they have a court order in hand, they are also fully able to utilize the Name Change Express service to subsequently update their name with the SSA and other government agencies and to then inform all of the organizations they do business with.

8)      What’s next for NCE?

  1. Since we launched a few months ago, our main focus right now is to simply get the word out.  We want newlyweds to know that there’s a much simpler way to go about changing their names.  We’d like to save them the hassle of managing multiple identities by helping them to get their name change done quickly with everyone that needs to know.  This is our primary focus right now.
  2. We’re also very focused on continually improving the services we offer to make the entire name change process easier for newlyweds.

9)      Is there anything else you would like engaged couples to know about NCE?

  1. The founders and management team are deeply committed to making the overall name change experience for newlyweds as hassle-free as possible so we continually strive to improve the services we offer.
  2. For more information on the services we offer and how to officially change your name, please visit the website at:  www.NameChangeExpress and view the short video.


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