Can I legally use my nickname on legal papers?

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2014

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Can I legally use my nickname on legal papers?

Asked on January 12, 2014 under Business Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should use you legal name; otherwise, there could be a question as to whether/who signed the paper, which could affect enforceability and/or require litigation later to prove who signed it. The best way would probably be, if you often go by the nickname, to use both: for example, a certain NY mobster could have signed his papers as--

Vincent "The Chin" Gigante

--that way, he'd use his legal name *and* the nickname (in quotes) and there'd by no doubt as to who it was. Or you could sign as--

John Doe, a/k/a Shorty Doe

--to use both legal and nickname.

If you truly do not like your legal name, you may wish to legally change it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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