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How To Change Maiden Name To Married Name

An Indian woman’s life changes so much after marriage… She needs to adjust to a new home, new family members, new surroundings, new responsibilities, new friends and much more. To add to this adjustment overload, she also needs to adjust to the new identity that typically dawns on her with the marriage!

Yes, it is customary in Indian culture to take on the husband’s surname and identify oneself with his family. However, it is pertinent to note that this change of name is not compulsory as per law. So, there are effectively three options that a married woman has:

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Retain maiden name. This may however result in legal complications in cases of family disputes, wherein the identity of the woman may be questioned.

Option 2: Replace her maiden name with the surname of her husband. This is the most common occurrence in India.

Option 3: Just add her husband’s surname to her name without dropping her maiden name. The famous example of this is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

As far as the finances of the married woman are concerned, she needs to go through the exercise of changing her name in all the necessary documents in case of option 2 and 3 above. This is to ensure that these documents reflect her new name and there is no complication at the time of transacting on these financial assets.

Here is a step-by-step process of what needs to be done with regard to the financial assets like bank accounts, Mutual Funds (MF), demat accounts, insurance policies, etc:

 

Step 1: Marriage is to be duly registered and certificate obtained. Please note that registration of marriages is now compulsory in India as per the Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2005. This Act is however operationalized by the state governments.

Step 2: The next step would be to effect the name change in her basic identity documents like the Aadhar card, voter card, PAN card, passport etc. This would establish the new identity which is a pre-requisite for all legal purposes.

Step 3: Change name in the bank accounts. This is required as all financial assets are linked to your bank account.

Step 4: Effect name change in mutual fund accounts, broker accounts, demat accounts and all other investment accounts. This is very important to safeguard her rights and titles to these assets.

The advantages of changing name:

  • The marriage and her new identity are clearly established and this would prevent any legal complications.
  • She signals to her in-laws that she respects and accepts their family.

The disadvantages of changing name:

  • Involves quite a bit of documentation and formalities.
  • An emotional distancing from the parent’s family is sealed by this step of name change.

End note: Though changing name is quite a laborious and seemingly daunting task, in the long run it does pay to endure it. Many a legal hassles and complications can thus be avoided or minimized.

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