The BIG day is approaching and you realize that a name change will most likely need to be made. Although you are not required to change your name, somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of brides take their husband’s last name when they get married according to recent surveys. A marriage license with your new last name does not automatically mean you’ve changed it. In fact, you shouldn’t change your name before the honeymoon because your new name has to match all travel documents and, most importantly, your passport.
1. Get your marriage license
Before you can change your name, you’ll need the original (or certified) marriage license with the raised seal and your new last name on it. Go to the clerk’s office where your license was filed so that you can get several copies. You should get at least 3 certified copies of your original marriage certificate so that you will have enough for all the changes you are making.
2. Change your Social Security card
Visit the Social Security Administration’s website and fill out the application for CORRECTED Social Security card. You’ll keep the same number — just your name will be different. You cannot make the change online; you either mail in the forms or take them to the local Social Security Administration office. You will also need to show them proof of current identity (DL or Passport).
3. Change your license at the DMV
Take a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a new license with your new last name. Bring every form of identification you can lay your hands on — your old license, your certified marriage license and — most important — your new Social Security card. They are usually closed on Mondays, so plan ahead. Be sure to smile for your new picture!
4. Change your bank accounts
This is an important one, especially if you’re setting up a joint bank account, or if you have one already set up. The fastest way to change your name at your bank is to go into a branch location — bring your new driver’s license and your marriage license. You should request new checks and debit and credit cards on top of changing the name attached to your accounts. Some banks charge a fee for requesting a new debit card. Personal note: if you and your spouse are each getting a debit card, request you each get a card with a unique number and PIN. That way if one of you loses your card, the other can still use their card while you are waiting on the replacement.
5. And a myriad of other places
Once you have a social security card and driver’s license in your married name, other changes should be fairly easy. It might be easiest to make a list of all your different accounts and mark them off as you get them done. Some places may only require a phone call; others may ask for a copy of your marriage certificate or social security card. Here are some examples of places you will need to notify:
- Employers/payroll – talk to your Human Resource person about adjusting your withholdings as you may now file “Married Filing Jointly” on your taxes
- Post office – remember change of address for all your mail and magazines
- Electric and other utility companies
- Credit card companies – (also a good idea to have unique cards like the debit cards)
- Student loan servicers
- Schools and alumni associations
- Landlord or mortgage company
- Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
- Doctors’ offices
- Voter registration office
- Investment account providers
- Your attorney (to update legal documents, including your will)
- Passport office
- Remember all of your social media sites as well (those realistically got changed as quickly as your status on Facebook J)
- E-Commerce sites where you have accounts set up, PayPal, eBay, Amazon etc.
- The next time you complete your taxes you will also show your name change – name on your tax return must match the name on your Social Security Card
- Beneficiary: an item often overlooked. If you have life insurance, disability, or other insurance policies, you generally select a beneficiary and will now want to list your spouse.
I am certain that this is not an all-inclusive list, however it should take care of most of the key changes.
Joel V. Reimer
Peer Financial Counselor II
Powercat Financial Counseling
**Most of this information was gleaned from the web at http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/planning-a-wedding/articles/name-change-101.aspx?MsdVisit=1 an article by Amanda Black. Other sites were also used.**