I Refuse to Pay Fees to Change My Name!

Posted by Madison on January 20, 2009

Even though I didn’t get my donations dropped off in December, I actually did have plans to drop off some stock certificates at my local broker. I planned to sell them in time to take the tax loss.

Unfortunately, I hit a road block. I got married. Five years ago.

Changing Your Name on Financial Accounts

For the women out there, you know that changing your name is a daunting task, especially if you have a thriving financial world full of bank accounts, credit cards, and brokerage accounts. Ironically, the credit card companies were easy, and could be taken care of with one phone call. Other companies wanted so much documentation, it wasn’t worth the time and money.

After about a year of working to get all my documentation changed to my married name, I gave up. I decided that I would forever have two names and left my maiden name on about a third of my accounts.

I haven’t had much of a problem. In fact, Fidelity even changed my name on my new solo 401k back to my maiden name, after I filled out all the paperwork using my married name. I tried to explain to them that their records are outdated, but after a 20 minute discussion, I gave up. I wonder which name they’d put on a credit card if I signed up for the Fidelity credit card!

Paying to Change Your Name

I was happily coexisting with my split persona, until my broker informed me I would have to pay a fee to reregister the stock in my name before I could sell them. One of the stocks was 1 share of Pfizer worth only $17. After selling it, I would actually owe them money!

No thanks.

Finding a New Broker

I’m busy looking into cheap online brokers that want to take my certificates with a different last name, without paying a ridiculous fee for each one. I made my short list with brokers that I’m familiar with or already have an account with:

For the record, it was Scottrade where I was trying to deposit the shares. Normally a convenient option, since I have a local branch.

My last resort will be to deposit the shares with the transfer agent, but I was trying to sell them for cheaper.

Also, when you change your name, don’t forget your bank accounts too. Your money might get lost if it’s in your maiden name like mine did. Search the list of unclaimed money by person name to be sure.

Final Thoughts

I would have never thought when writing about Tips to Keep Wedding Costs Down, I needed to include the financial considerations of a name change!

If anyone has had a similar problem, I’m all ears on a cheap way to get this fixed. I have more certificates in the future to deal with.

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Comments to I Refuse to Pay Fees to Change My Name!

  1. I agree, the whole name thing is a huge hassle. I never legally changed my name, never really felt a need to considering that any person can use any name they chose (except for illegal purposes, of course). My SS still uses my maiden name. My drivers license now carries both names (they just wanted to see my marriage certificate). Most of my bank/investment/legal stuff is in both names or just my maiden name.

    The WORST was the time a cop pulled me over for a busted tail light. Auto registration was in my married name – drivers license & insurance at the time was in my maiden name. What a nightmare – Mr. Cop decided he was qualified to give legal advice and insisted I MUST change everything to match or I could be arrested should he ever pull me over again. Huh?!


  2. Isn’t it awful? I had the same problems – we would fill out the paperwork correctly to change an account, and they wouldn’t update it to my married name. My mortgage is STILL in my maiden name, after sending them a copy of my marriage certificate and driver’s license TWICE.

    We’re hopefully refinancing the mortgage this month, so we’ll see then if it’s a problem or not. At least we kept copies of our correspondence – it’s not our fault. We followed their proceedures twice, and just gave up.

    Good luck! I write under my maiden name, but changed my name legally, so I understand completely. It’s not that confusing, but people just can’t wrap their minds around the split personalities. 🙂


  3. Did they say whether they would have charged a fee had you tried to change the name right when you got married? Also, did they say why the name on the certificate needed to be your married name (i.e. to match your social security number for IRS reporting or something like that)? Since your SSN has presumably not changed, this doesn’t seem logical, you are still the same person that bought the stock certificate.

    I’m interested to see what input other commenters have, one of my investment accounts and several CDs are still in my maiden name (although my passport is still in my maiden name, so I do have ID that could cover that). Did you try using your birth certificate/marriage certificate/license combo? It seems weird that they will charge in this case and not let you sell them with that documentation. My father passed away before I was married, and in all his will and trust documents name me by my maiden name. Since the trust documents are now all irrevocable, there is no way I could change my name on them. I haven’t had any problems with redeeming shares from that pool of investments.


  4. Oh, and I could not for the life of me get the car loan company to change my name after I married, despite many, many attempts. So I just left it, and once it was paid off, just kept the title in my maiden name. I’m a fan of the split personalities with names too 🙂


  5. Consider gifting the stock and using it as a tax deduction unless it is a large chunk of your portfolio 🙂

    Scottrade only needed a copy of my marriage license to change my name there incidentally!


  6. I had similar issues but by stock certificates were old custodial accounts. I had to get stock power forms medallion signature guaranteed. This can only be done at banks, and usually it takes a manager. Some banks charge for this, but most do not. Also, in most circumstances all parties who’s name appear on the document need to be present with photo ID on hand.

    I ultimately register my stock certificates with Optionsxpress.com.

    Andrew L

  7. There’s a simple solution – don’t change your name. I never did, and I haven’t had any problems. Occasionally people call me Mrs. R instead of Ms. H and I don’t usually correct them, it’s not a big deal. And yes, my 2 kids have a different last name than me – still not a big deal. I never had to deal with any of the name change hassles or pay any fees.


  8. Great Information… Luckily I had no problems with any of this since I was “fresh off the farm” when Josh and I were married. Since we were married 25 days after I graduated college the only things I had to change were SS, drivers license, insurance… Luckily, I had no debt, but no “real” investments either. I will have to say though, I did not have to pay any fees to change my name on the mentioned items above.


  9. This is good to know for when I change my name. I actually don’t speak with my dad or his family, so it’s really awkward when people say, “oh, you’re last name is X? Do you know so-and-so X?”


  10. Wow! I can’t believe all the trouble people have changing their names!

    @ Thankful: A rep from Scottrade saw my article and is trying to see if she can help me get to the bottom of it! I’ll let you know what I hear.

    @ Jenny: Great idea on the donation… I had forgotten about that!


  11. Wow, how awful that they put you thru that.

    I changed my name when I got married, back when I got divorced (!) and again when I remarried. The hardest parts were social and workwise; I need to remember what my name was in certain years so I know what I was called at different jobs for interviews. Difficult – and moreso cause employers don’t like all the names. Some are jealous that I’ve been married not once but twice when they are never married. And a couple times they are surprised because they expect me to look a certain way based on my name(s). Sigh. Dummies.

    OTOH, if you keep your documentation, problems should be minimal. If I had to do it again, I would still change my name.


  12. My solution to skipping the hassle: I never changed my name! I personally just found the whole idea archaic and I just couldn’t picture being Mrs. O all of a sudden after spending a lifetime being me.


  13. I use the hyphenated last name (maiden-married). There are a few things that are still in my maiden name, but since it’s really obvious that it’s part of my current name, I’ve never had an issue with it.

    What I DO have an issue with is that different computer systems file my records differently. Some under the first half, some under the second. So I always have to say “I’m not sure where you have me filed. I might be under ‘x’ and I might be under ‘y’.”


  14. I am completely in alliance with anyone who has ever had a name change. Try being me. I had a legal name change to both my first and last name and now…it’s hell. I have had to actually make a packet so I can send to all the creditors, etc. My banking institution was the easiest to change. I simply had to show them the name changed on my license but the credit card companies…OMG they are the worse. They wanted to charge me $20 dollars to change my name since the change would automatically generate a new card. Even if I didn’t want an updated card, they could not do a name change unless I agreed to pay the $20 dollars. In my opinion, this is pure extortion. What can I do about it? Nothing. Pay the $20 dollars simply to do a name change. The best part is that this card is not even a card I wanted. My college hired Higher One to handle all financial aid funds and wala I get a credit card where the financial aid funds are automatically deposited into this credit card and I also get the privilege of all the headaches involved in dealing with Higher One and their outrageous fees.


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