Ask SAM: Variations on your name can cause headaches at the bank

By Winston-Salem Journal

Q: Due to stricter banking regulations, I had a problem depositing my tax-refund checks into my savings account at my credit union this year. On my birth certificate, I have one name. For example, if it were “Sally Jane Olsen,” but I went by my middle name “Jane” and my married name was “Smith,” I would have my name on bank accounts and my retirement pension checks as “Jane O. Smith,” but my name on my taxes would be “Sally O. Smith.” The bank manager eventually let me deposit the checks, but it seems now I need to get my name corrected to the same name on everything – tax returns, bank accounts, pension checks, driver’s license, passport, and so on. Can you give me some guidance?


Answer: “It probably makes sense to have the name on your check for your tax refunds the same as on the banking account to which it is directly deposited,” said local attorney Mike Wells.

He suggested you talk with your accountant or a CPA, or the tax authorities, to make sure your name on your tax returns is consistent with the account to which any refunds would be deposited.

“If one can, use the name on your birth certificate, or your married name, for any government issued ID, driver’s license, passport, military ID, for state and federal tax returns or Social Security card,” Wells said. If appropriate, he said, you can use your legal name, after which one can note parenthetically “also known as” or “AKA.”

“Legally, one’s name is what is on your birth certificate, except that if you marry, a woman’s maiden last name becomes her middle name,” he said.

Here are some general tips from Wells that may be helpful:

If one gets divorced, the wife may ask the court to change her name to her maiden name again, and her maiden name is then restored.Any numbers of people go by variations of their legal name. For example, Mary Jo Olsen, whose married name is now Mary Olsen Smith, may be known by one and all as “Jo,” because that is what she has been known as all of her life. She simply goes by her middle (maiden) name.If one wants to change their name from their legal name, other than as noted if one gets divorced, it is fairly easy to do, if it is your first time making such a request. You file a request of the county clerk of court, with necessary affidavits from people who state you, essentially, are not doing this for any bad purpose (beating a debt); and a notice is posted at the courthouse, which serves as legal notice to the community that you make this request. If there is no objection, the clerk signs an order legally changing your name.If you are making a second request to change your name, the procedure is more involved.

Q: Are there plans to put a left turn signal on the light for cars heading south on Griffith Road trying to turn on Burke Mill Road? I have to sit through three light changes to make a turn.


Answer: “City staff is reviewing and then will implement improvements to that intersection,” said Laura Whitaker, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Transportation.

This article provided by NewsEdge.