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National Name Yourself Day

National Name Yourself Day is a holiday when anyone can give themselves a different name. It is a particularly fun holiday for those who do not like their names, but anyone can celebrate it. According to some sources, one's name can only be changed for a day. But, others say it can be changed permanently.

There are many reasons why people change their names, marriage and divorce being the most common reasons. Some people change their name because they want to hide from something. Although a legal name change can't be done to evade law enforcement or debt, some people change their name just to have a fresh start. People who are transgender may change it after transitioning to a new gender. Some change their name so it sounds less "ethnic," or so it is easier for others to pronounce. Conversely, some also reclaim a family name that was changed in the past.

Besides not being able to legally change one's name to evade law enforcement or avoid paying bills, there are other rules that must be followed. In most circumstances, it is not permissible to change one's name to a celebrity's name, as that is seen as being misleading. A name can't be changed to a numeral or a punctuation mark. A trademarked name may also not be used, nor can anything that is offensive or obscene.

Changing one's name is a process: paperwork is filled out and it may include going to court. A lawyer is not necessary, but there sometimes are legal fees. Each state has different rules on changing one's name and the cost ranges from under $100 to over $1,000.

A legal document such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court granted petition must first be obtained. Name change petitions usually cost between $100 and $200. Forms are filled out and taken to a court clerk, and a judge or magistrate reviews them and grants the name change. Many states don't require a petition, but many financial and government agencies do.

After the legal document is obtained, applications should be submitted to government agencies such as the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Internal Revenue Service. Then the name change should be made aware to businesses such as banks, credit card companies, and utility companies. The post office should also be notified.

People change both their first names and last names, do it legally and informally, and for a myriad of reasons. On National Name Yourself Day, any of these routes to changing one's name may be used. Although there are various rules about changing your name if you do it permanently, if you are just changing your name for the day, you can change it to whatever you want!

How to Observe

Change your name for the day or make the change permanent. You could change your first, middle, or last name, or all three. If you wish to make your change permanent, check to see what your state's name change laws are, so you know the best way to proceed. Some companies such as Hitchswitch, I'm a Mrs., and LegalZoom can help streamline the name-changing process. If you are transgender and wish to change your name, the Name Change Project may be of assistance.

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