Step 1: Obtain your marriage license
Before you can change anything, you will need your original marriage license or a certified copy to use as proof of marriage.1 Contact the clerk’s office where your license was filed if one wasn’t sent to you. It’s a good idea to purchase additional copies, as you’ll need them for your name change and possibly other things such as benefits enrollments, taxes or a home loan.2
Step 2: Update your social security card
Your marriage license may not be enough to update your bank accounts or other official documents. You’ll need a social security card that has your new name. To get this, visit a Social Security Administration office (with marriage license in hand) or mail in paperwork to your local office. The Social Security Administration makes it easy by providing clear instructions on what you’ll need to bring, forms to fill out in advance and the location of your nearest office.3
Step 3: Head to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Your next step will be to visit the DMV to update your driver’s license. Every state has its own documentation requirements for a name change, so research your state DMV’s website beforehand to make sure you bring the right paperwork to save time and hassle. Most offices require the following documentation:4
- Your new social security card or receipt from the Social Security office
- Your current driver’s license
- Proof of address – an unopened mailing with your name and current address
- Certified copy of your marriage license
Step 4: Update your financial accounts
Next, you’ll want to notify your bank, credit card companies and retirement accounts. Most institutions will allow you to request a change in person, by email or by fax, but you may need to provide your marriage license or new identification as valid proof.5
Step 5: Make a list of everything else
Your name appears in more places than you think. For example, think of your employer, mortgage company or landlord, utility companies, and auto-pay accounts, like your gym or Netflix. If you have a passport or other travel documents, you should update those, too.
Whether or not you make the decision to change your last name, getting married is an important time for you and your new spouse to review your life insurance needs. Whether it’s obtaining new or additional coverage, or simply updating your name or beneficiary information on your current policy, these steps can help ensure you and your spouse are financially protected. Learn why newlyweds should consider life insurance.
1 How to Change Your Name After Your Wedding, Brides.com, 2017.
2 5 Reasons You’ll Need Your Marriage Certificate, VitalChek, 2016.
3 How Do I Change or Correct My Name on My Social Security Number Card?, Social Security Administration, 2018.
4 Name Change, DMV.org, 2018.
5 Just Married? How to Change Your Name on Financial Accounts, The Balance, 2017.
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