Near the end of beta, Bioware introduced a nifty feature into SW:TOR called the Legacy System. This allows you to create one unique surname for all of your characters on a server, along with other benefits. Something to plan for when you think about naming your characters.
Here is some more info I found with a quick google search. It is taken from http://www.epictoon.com/blog/2011/11/23/swtor-legacy-system-surname-business-faqs/
Star Wars: the Old Republic is hoping its players will form familial ties to the game, or at least between their toons, through the surname-granting feature known as the Legacy System.
Under the Legacy System, players can bestow a single, unique surname across their characters on one server, according to SWTOR creative director James Ohlen. Just imagine all your Jedis belonging to the “Smith” clan!
EpicToon engaged the crafty services of Bothan spies to gather a comprehensive dossier on the Legacy System, and here’s what we found out.
What is the Legacy System?
The Legacy system is a game feature that allows players to create a “family” of characters who share a single surname, or what is formally called as a Legacy Last Name.
Can this be shared among characters?
Mr. Ohlen said the Legacy Last Name “is shared across all characters on that server – so choose carefully!” Functionally, this creates an identifying marker for each player even when switching between various alts.
How can I unlock the Legacy System?
In the initial character creation screen, players will not be able to provide a Legacy Last Name to their level 1 toon. A character will only gain the privilege of adopting a surname once he or she has finished the Chapter 1 storyline.
What is the Chapter 1 storyline?
SWTOR breaks up the game content into several “Chapters” and the Chapter 1 storyline is believed to encompass the beginner’s zone and an extensive immersion into a character’s chosen class, be it a Bounty Hunter, a Smuggler or any of the other six playable classes. (The Chapter 1 storyline encompasses the class stories on the first 5 planets you visit, plus a little extra. You probably won't finish Chapter 1 until you level into the mid to late 20's. -Zy)
Previous developer interviews suggest that there will be a total of eight Chapters for each class, with lead writer Daniel Erickson saying one Chapter is comparable to the content of the whole Knights of the Old Republic game.
What are the restrictions to the Legacy System?
Like Mr. Ohlen mentioned, it must be unique to that server. So far that’s it. BioWare has not yet defined the limits on spelling conventions, character counts and conflicts with iconic surnames in the Star Wars canon like “Skywalker”.
What are the other features of the Legacy System?
Aside from sharing the same surname, all characters linked by the Legacy Last Name will be able to contribute experience toward a legacy level. It is still unknown what the rewards are for increasing legacy levels, but it is speculated to provide a host of passive benefits, possibly including XP, combat and SWTOR Credits boosts.
“We already have plans for how we will expand the functionality of the Legacy System in one of our major post-ship patches. This will include being able to shape your Legacy’s family tree,” added Mr. Ohlen.