Many people call themselves by a name other than the exact name given at birth. You may be one of these people – perhaps you prefer your middle name, or you use a shortened version of your name to make it easier for people to pronounce or spell. Maybe after a divorce you reverted to your maiden name by choice, but didn’t get around to legally changing it back. Whatever the reasons, the situation is common enough, and in some cases people get so used to their preferred name that they use it automatically, without thinking of the consequences.
At Capital Partners we regularly see people prefer a name that is different to their legal name, and we also see these same people using this name over time and on forms. Fast forward several years and we are now trying to manage your superannuation account, or worse a severe illness or life insurance claim. What ensues is an enormous amount of back and forth as things have to be corrected and the corrected details accounted for. Super funds and insurers will not make a move when people have more than one name.
Our message to you is – whilst you may prefer to be called and known by a particular name, please ensure that all of your documents line up legally with the one correct name. This means your driver’s license, passport, Medicare card, super fund, insurance policy and so on should all have the same details, ensuring that if you ever need to process paperwork or make a claim there won’t be unnecessary time wasted in trying to sort these out.
Serena West is Principal of Risk Insurance at Capital Partners and is committed to helping people live richer, happier lives.