Checks under a prefered name

I was finally reading my copy of “A Cat’s Guide to Money” and learned that banks offer autopay where they will mail out checks for you and got very excited. Talking to a friend about using checks to pay for things the conversation veered into the best way to pay for things under a preferred name.

I brought up that with an LLC one can use DBA (“do business as”) law to write check as the LLC. That would mean these are business expenses, I’m not sure about the tax ramifications therein and there are annual costs to an LLC.

My friend’s idea was to use a living trust and set up a checking account under that. Then you can use the trust’s name. We both don’t know much about living trusts and the costs involved.

Thoughts? Comments? Other ideas? (besides just legally changing your name, I know that one)


Just to clarify re strategies – is this to receive checks or to write checks?

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Write, ie: paying rent.

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I have numerous friends dealing with name changes. Let me reach out and see if they have ideas. :slight_smile:


A living trust - unless you have a fair amount of assets - is probably going to be more complicated.

Here’s my thought (this is kinda a brilliant strategy I like this):

  • Get a free EIN (this is FREE, you do not need to incorporate do not pay for this) as a sole proprietor. You can use this for any 1099s you get for gig work or freelancing, etc, as your preferred name, as well, meaning you won’t have to fill them in with a deadname. You can’t fill out a W-4 for regular employment with an EIN though.
  • Then file a DBA for your preferred name. (this is the legal zoom article, you probably don’t need to pay them, the form is easy. Just google YOUR STATE + DBA)
  • Then open a business bank account as a sole proprietor for your with your DBA. Seriously, this will probably be easy. You should be able to find a no fee one.
  • You can use auto bill pay, and even set up paypal, etc, to use your DBA for your preferred name using this account.
  • It varies completely by state, but this would cost less than legal name change cost me. DBAs in my state are $50, and my name change was $120 including all court fees - and then I also had to change my passport ($100) Social security card (free) state ID ($40) plus write into the credit bureaus and all my banks. And I didn’t have a gender marker change to go with it which is even more complicated.

One downside of this: when you get an EIN, you are now setting up a new credit report - meaning you won’t be building your personal credit if you open up a credit card under your preferred name, just your business credit.

Also, I used to just endorse checks that people wrote to MY PREFERRED BUT NOT LEGAL NAME over to MY LEGAL NAME to deposit. Kinda dumb but it worked well. The DBA would be the more legal way to do that. This is how:



My folx didn’t have any great solutions, I’m sorry!