A name change affidavit is a legal document indicating that someone's name has changed. The document provides information about the name change and it is signed both by the person who fills it out and by someone who is authorized to serve as a witness to such documents, such as a notary public. Affidavits for name changes are not the same thing as a court order for a name change.
When someone needs to change his or her name in records with banks, colleges and universities, and so forth, these agencies usually require a name change affidavit to effect the change. They may also request supplementary documentation, such as a court order. Proof of the name change is required because these agencies want to make sure that someone is not attempting to use a name change fraudulently. Some agencies may require that the affidavit be filled out by someone else, who testifies in the document to the fact that someone's name has indeed changed.
Changing names on government identification also usually requires a name change affidavit and supporting documentation. Another option for supporting documentation is evidence that someone has completed a common law name change. Common law name changes are not available in all areas, but where they are, someone must be able to show proof that she or he is generally known by the new name and has been for a set period of time, such as five years.
Many agencies provide name change affidavit blanks which people can use to get their names changed in their records. People can request such forms from the clerk or registrar. The form will also include information about what kind of supporting documentation will be needed, if any. Since certain parts of the form need to be signed and filled out in front of a notary public or similar authorized witness, people should read the form carefully before they start filling it out to confirm that they complete it correctly.
It is also possible to write out a name change affidavit by hand. The document should list the person's prior name and the new name and the date the name change became effective. Some organizations and agencies also want people to list their place of birth and other supporting information; it can be advisable to call ahead and ask about which information should be included in a name change affidavit so that the document does not need to be completed twice.