Life changes after marriage and for many women along with a change of life also comes a change of name. Gwendolene Fernandes, a Mumbai-based teacher, is engaged and is about to get married in a few months to Anson Miranda, a musician and IT professional.
“First I was wondering if I should replace my surname Fernandes with Anson’s surname Miranda after marriage or not,” said Fernandes. But then I thought I should change it, after all it’s a sign of unity, and also it’s cool.”
While this 20-something will go for the traditional and most popular choice, these days many women choose to retain their last name and some add their husband’s last name to it: heard of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan?
While to change or not to change the last name is a very personal decision, but if you do plan to change your name, you will need to get legal and financial documents updated accordingly. Here’s a quick guide to what you should do once you decide to change your name.
Change of name and marriage certificate
“There are two ways to change your name,” said Kiran Telang, a Mumbai-based certified financial planner. “One is to apply for name change in the state government gazette. If your name change is due to marriage, you can also apply for a marriage certificate at the office of the registrar of marriage.”
Keep in mind that it usually takes a month or two for the marriage certificate to reach you. Marriage certificate helps you get your new name updated across other financial and legal documents.
Though the time to get the certificate is almost the same, the process varies under the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act. According to www.India.gov.in, “The Hindu Marriage Act provides for registration of an already solemnised marriage. The Act does not provide for solemnisation of a marriage by the registrar. The Special Marriage Act provides for solemnisation of a marriage as well as registration by a marriage officer.” We suggest you find out about the process in your state to apply for the certificate.
Permanent account number (PAN)
The next step is to ensure that you get a change of surname on your PAN card. These days it’s almost impossible to do any financial transactions without giving a copy of the PAN card.
“When there is a change of surname post marriage, you need to update your PAN card,” said Pankaj Mathpal, a Mumbai-based financial planner. “The process is similar to applying for a new card, the only difference is that you will need to provide your old card number. Your new PAN card will carry the old number, but with a new name.”
Keep in mind that you will have to submit your marriage certificate or a copy of the official government gazette, while applying for name change in the PAN card. Even a copy of a joint (with spouse) notarised affidavit will do, to get the PAN updated. After that, ensure that your income-tax papers also get updated.
The next step is to get all your banking relationships up-to-date with your new surname. “In case of a woman needing name change after marriage, a marriage certificate is required to be produced for effecting the same in bank records,” said Meenakshi A, head, operations, ING Vysya Bank Ltd.
Generally, the marriage certificate and the joint notarised affidavit get the job of name change done in banks. Remember also to update the change of address along with the name change request. Here, the bank may ask you for your husband’s address proof as well such as a copy of his passport.
As far as the affidavit goes, it needs to state the maiden surname, the new changed surname, your photograph and signature as well as your husband’s signature. Usually this notarised affidavit and marriage certificate are needed to change surname on other documents.
Do ensure that you get the new surname on your deposit accounts as well as loan accounts. As far as credit report goes, this is one document where you get a respite from updating your name on you own. Any changes in customer database, including name and address get refreshed every month for all loan customers by the bank to Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd.
If you already have a passport and need to update your post-marriage new surname, you will have to apply for a re-issue. Along with marriage certificate, you will have to submit the old passport in original with a self-attested photocopy and a copy of the husband’s passport.
Other documents where you will need to update your new surname are driving licence, voter’s identity card and the like. “As far as insurance policies go, if you are a nominee, ensure that the correct name is mentioned,” said Mathpal.
Also, you will need to get your know-your-client information updated; name change across other financial investments, such as mutual funds and shares will follow.
“If it’s a property that you own, get the name change updated,” said Telang.
Ensure there is uniformity in all your financial documents. Of course it’s not as easy as it sounds and you probably have to spend a month or so to get all this done. But it’s best done sooner than later to avoid problems in the future.