Are there any legal problems that could arise in changing my legal first name that I may not consider?

For example, I'm a US citizen and how difficult would it be to get my passport and social security card changed? Would this legal first name change affect me negatively in other ways in regards to the law?

I'd like to change my legal first name from something like "David" to "Dave". I have good reasons for this; live in Washington State and know the process; and my family has always called me "Dave" (even my parents), never "David". I've also signed many non-government forms (both paper and online) with my "Dave" nickname.

Any words of advice from people that have actually changed their legal first names would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


If you do this, you should make a list of all your assets, such as a house, car, investment account, or stock certificates. After a while, all your ID cards in your old name will be expired, so you may have trouble selling these assets. Some organizations, like departments of motor vehicles, are allowed to "connect the dots"; if you show them an ID card in your new name and the court order that changed your name, they'll be happy. But organizations, or officials such as notaries public, may believe they're not allowed to "connect the dots" and won't assist you in selling assets in the old name. You could go to a forum that caters to notaries such as Notary Rotary; click the "FORUM" tab and search to see what the perceptions are.

So you should be sure to change your name on all your assets while you still have ID in both the new and old name.

  • Thank you Gerald. Yes, I'll keep my documents in my old and new name. Also, I'm luck (or maybe unlucky?) that I don't have many assets in my name so transferring them over to a new legal first name should take less time than others. For example, the most expensive asset I own is my car. Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 22:48

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