USDS Name Change and Legal Documents Kits Frequently Asked Questions
How does your kit differ from others?
In many ways.
1st, we do more than simply send blank forms. We also explain how to use them and what you may want to think about first.
2nd, the Official kit provides extensive materials for other legal matters for use now and in the future such as wills and pre-nuptial agreements.
3rd, the commentary sections are simply not available in other kits. Issues of children in name-changes, will considerations, terms of pre-nuptials and other factors are just ignored in other sets.
4th, It is the only kit which provides the full range of legally necessary materials. This is not just a mailing of blank forms on a few topics.
This is not just a package of forms, but also provides very, very useful practical information to avoid the many problems that can occur even if you do everything right.
Do I have to change my name immediately when I marry?
No. You can change your name
immediately, start ahead of time, or wait and do it anytime later. However, you
should decide exactly how you want to change your name as it is very difficult
to make a correction. We discuss various considerations for name changes (do
you hyphenate and if so, your middle or last name?) and tell you how to avoid
misprints on government documents.
Can name-change documents be handled by mail?
Most can, but we recommend you
change your social security number in person and will have to do so with your
driver's license. You can mail in your change to the social security office -
but we explain why you probably do not want to handle this by mail unless you
are in a rural area.
Do I have to use the same name in all circumstances?
No. You can use one name to
relatives such as parents and grandparents, have another for legal documents,
and still another in your professional employment. We also explain how to
legally use assumed names for business and privacy.
I am marrying for a second time and have children from my first marriage. How do I both take my husband's name and keep a name connection to the children?
The Kit discusses your options to
keep a name-link to your children (sometimes critical in a medical emergency) -
while also taking your husband's name. It also discusses options to give the
children a link to their step-father WITHOUT going through extremely difficult
Why do you include both hard copy and disc?
Hard copy allows you to review
the materials very quickly. It is very difficult to jump back and forth between
pages when following instructions. Beware! Most name-change services only
provide hard copy (paper) - so you have to type every word of their forms onto
your computer - not just fill-in-the blanks. This is a terrible nuisance, very
time consuming and allows for mistakes.
For some documents, it is highly recommended or required that you use the actual form provided by the government agency. We provide you those actual forms - rather than just telling you where you can drive and pick one up. Having the information on disc allows you to use your computer and printer to fill-in the blanks on other forms without having to re-write the entire document.
Can I change my name without buying a kit from someone?
Yes. A person also could save
money by building their own house - though it might not be a good one and by
the time they are done fixing mistakes they may have spent more. This
collection saves you time, gas money, confusion and most importantly avoids
mistakes and oversights.
How often can I change my will?
As often as you wish. We
recommend that you quickly draw up a simple will - just naming who you would
wish your estate to go to. Later you can rewrite it to be more specific and
change your will. With the original draft already on your computer or saved, it
is easy to update it.
Can I have a different name for commercial and professional usage?
Yes, and in most states this can be done in a matter of minute via a recorded assumed name.
My former married name appears on my marriage license. I do not want to keep this name. Is this a problem?
No, there is no complexity to drop your former married name.
Do I have to name a lawyer to handle my will?
No. The main advantage of
having a will is that it can be written to avoid the legal system including
avoiding having to go to probate court (courts that hear estate cases).
Can we write one will together for both of us?
No, a will is strictly a personal
matter. You can both know what each other's will says or you may write yours
privately. You could even draft a second will secretly to cancel a previous
will - but without having to disclose the changes. It is advisable that you
each do not sign as witnesses of each other's will and in some states this is
invalidates the will.
May I includes statements in my will, for example a statement of how much I love my spouse and children?
You can write anything in your
will, though will want to avoid statements that may suggest irrational emotions
such as extreme anger or very peculiar perspectives. You also could include
photographs and even a video taped statement to leave - but these are not
required and can be added later.
Often, wills are the "last words of encouragement and advise" - and we recommend you provide these in your will for your spouse and for any children. These words can be a wonderful assurance in a very difficult time.
What happens to my estate if I do not have a will?
In most states, this puts the
estate automatically into probate in court and all accounts and assets are
frozen until the court rules. Anyone can make claim against the estate -
including relatives and bill collectors. With most wills, you can completely
eliminate all of this by the proper language and have your estate settled
without any court action or openly the estate to any contest. While this may
not matter to you now, it could in the future.
Why are wills important in 2nd marriages?
There are many reasons. Your
previous spouse and relatives may make a claim on the estate. You may even have
forgotten that you named your ex on your insurance, in employment papers, a
military will-statement, and other ways in which the ex actually receives death
Many people actually have estate assets they do not remember - military, employment, forgotten little life insurance policies (which can grow to large amounts) and even claims against other relatives estates they are unaware of. For example, those who were in the service probably signed a statement that they wished their estate to go to their parents and named a previous spouse in other documents..
A will can post-date and therefore cancel all those other documents - even if they do not mention forgotten documents and assignments.
A will is vital if children are involved. Your spouse as step-parent could find they have absolutely zero rights to even see the children - even if he/she raised a child for years if there is no will and the biological parent wants custody. With this, the biological parent then also can make claim for the estate in the child's name. Thus, your husband (or wife) could find they lose all contract with the children which they raised and lose much of the property too.
Do wills affect placement of children in the event of the death of both parents?
If you plan to have children, a
will is absolutely critical for the children's protection in many ways. In the
event of both parents death, children are placed by the courts. Relatives then
make claim for custody or conservatorship/costody of the children - and in this
then also seek the estate. In a will, you can specify your preferences as to
whom you wish to raise the children and this language carries great weight in
court. It also insures that whom you pick then also receives the estate and
death benefits as you specify.
Are prenuptial agreements legally binding?
Each state is different, but
generally yes - unless the terms are truly unfair or manipulated. The longer a
couple are together, the more assets brought into the marriage are considered
Is a prenuptial agreement a prediction of future divorce?
Absolutely not. A prenuptial
agreement also can serve as a marriage contract - in which the couple specifies
what their duty areas are, promises to each other, methods of dispute
resolution and other means to both cause pre-marriage discussion and
Isn't writing a will and prenuptial agreement for a marriage rather gloomy?
A marriage is not only a romantic
occasion and commitment, but it also is a declaration of duty and
responsibility. A loving spouse would want to insure life is as easy as
possible in the event of death and certainly would not want the other to find
themselves in financial and legal chaos. Writing a will is a way of declaring
love even after death. A prenuptial agreement is a declaration that both are
entering into the marriage thoughtfully and responsibly.
Some other kits cost a little less. What is the difference?
A car without tires, engine and
interior also cost less. Our kit allows you to put the information on your
computer - meaning you can save it and prepare it quickly. The kit provides a full
collection of marriage-related legal documents and materials - for which
you would have to buy many kits and programs at much greater expense - with
materials then unrelated to marriage - to obtain otherwise and at much greater
expense. As the materials are Interco related, it is practical to use and
overall it presents legal matters in realistic terms with excellent advise. Remember,
no other marriage documentation service provides this collection of resources,
government forms, and legal materials.
What computer capability do I need:
None. All important forms are on
hard copy and we provide you with the government authorized forms to use. You
will need a computer with an A drive (standard floppy) for wills and
pre-nuptial agreements. CD-rom is not required so both old and new computers
work. If you do not have a computer or printer, most office supply, copy shops
and libraries now offer such services.
STATES DOCUMENTARY SERVICE
Marriage Name Change & Legal Forms Documents - $23.71 (this includes S & H)
kit and collection includes everything listed on the homepage for name change,
pre-nuptial & marriage contracts, Do-It-Yourself Wills, 2nd Marriages,
government forms and instructions.
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