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For many women, and even some men, when it comes to marriage, they are faced with the decision of whether or not they will be changing their last name.
Traditionally, the bride drops their maiden name and takes on their husband’s last name.
This leaves many asking how to change your name after marriage.
In all honesty, changing your last name after marriage isn’t all that difficult, there are just a number of different things that need to be considered during the process.
While it may be a little overwhelming at first, the process isn’t as scary as it may seem.
How to Change Your Name After Marriage – The Steps Simplified
So why do some women change their last name after getting married?
Besides tradition, many want to not only share their last name with their husband, but many women know they want to have children and they want to share their last name with them as well.
So, while there is no law requiring a name change, it is something that many find to be a significant part of becoming one family.
When asking how to change your name after marriage, there are a number of different things that need to be considered, and the best way to cover all your bases is to sit down and make a list of places in which you have submitted your name.
These can be significant places, such as your apartment lease and your student loans all the way down to those insignificant things like magazine subscriptions.
Once you’ve got an idea of all the places that you’ve used your last name, it’s time to get to work.
The first place you’ll want to begin is the marriage certificate. Many couples have this taken care of right before the wedding. Then you’ll want to get your Social Security card replaced with a new one that has your new name on it.
1. Marriage Certificate
The marriage certificate is important because that is your proof of name change. When applying for your marriage license, you’ll also want to purchase certified copies because they will be needed when you go to change your name on other legal documents, such as your Social Security and driver’s license. You want the certified copies because they have a raised seal on them, proving that they are the legitimate copies. Simply photocopying your marriage certificate won’t do and isn’t legal in many cases.
2. Social Security Card
Once you have your marriage certificate and certified copies, you can move on with your name change process, and the second place you’ll want to go is to Social Security to get your new card. This allows you to notify the government that you want to go by your married name and not your maiden name.
There are two ways that you can take care of this. The first is by applying for a new Social Security card by mail, and the second option is to go to your local Social Security office and take care of it in person.
If you plan to take care of this step in person, you may want to fill out the application in advance and then make sure you have the proper support materials, such as your certified copy of your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID card, and your current Social Security Card.
Other Places You Should Notify of Your Name Change
Once you have taken care of your marriage license and your new Social Security card, you’ll want to go down the list and change your name on other documents, such as the items we have listed below.
Remember, not all of these items will apply to everyone, and there are some other documents such as immigration documents, investment accounts, and additional insurance accounts that aren’t through your employer that will need to be revised as well.
The best way to get all your bases covered is to check with your state’s clerk to see what your state requires you to change, as each state has their own laws regarding how to change your name after marriage.
Once you’ve got both your certified copies of your marriage license and your new Social Security card, you’ll want to take them over to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office so that you can get a new driver license with your new married name on it.
A passport is generally accepted as a legal form of identification, so you’ll want to make sure you update this document with your married name as well. Again, you’ll want to have proof of citizenship, your marriage certificate and a photo ID, such as your new driver’s license.
Banking Cards and Credit Cards
Once your name and Social Security have all been updated, the next step should be heading to your bank to update all the information on your savings and checking accounts. You’ll want all new sets of debit and credit cards and new checkbooks as well.
Loans – Personal/Student
When it comes to personal loans and student loans, you will be required to show both your marriage certificate and your new Social Security card to update your name on these documents. You’ll want to call your creditors and ask them what they require.
This will vary by state, but you will more than likely need to show proof of your name change in order to update your car title and registration. This will require a copy of your marriage certificate. Check with your local DMV to see what else may be required to make these updates.
These will vary depending on the landlord and mortgage lender. For most landlords, they will require a copy of your marriage license and new Social Security card. For any mortgages, you’ll want to contact your lender to see what additional information they might require. As for any deeds in your maiden name, you’ll want to contact your county’s deed office to see what they require.
After you receive your new Social Security card, you’ll want to show it to your employer and have them update their payroll accounts. This is vital so that the SSA (Social Security Administration) can keep an accurate count of how much you’ve paid into Social Security. Your employer will also need to ensure that your name is updated on your health, dental and other benefit accounts.
You’ll want to contact each and every utility company to see what they require to have your name updated. This includes your internet, cable, cell phone, water, power, and gas. Even subscriptions such as Netflix will need an update of your name. Again, you’ll most likely need your new driver’s license, marriage certificate and some companies may require your new Social Security number.
Providing your new photo ID, such as your driver’s license should be all you need to update your name at your doctor’s office, dentist, and so on. You’ll want to ask each office what other information they may need as proof of your name change.
This may not seem vital, but it will be. You’ll want to make sure your children’s schools and daycares know of your name change so that the records are kept organized. You don’t want your name to be confused in the case of an emergency.
You’ll want to make sure you update your name on your voters’ registration as well, so you can vote come election day. With some places requiring a photo ID to vote, you’ll want to make sure your new name matches up with your ID.
Professional Licensing Boards/Associations
Anyone who has a professional license will need to contact the relevant licensing board to get their certificates updated with their new married name. This includes doctors, nurses, lawyers, and notaries. Proper materials can differ from occupation and by state, so make sure to contact their respective board to make sure they provided the necessary documentation.
Changing Your Name Doesn’t Have to Be Scary
Looking through this list can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
As part of the wedding planning process, creating a list of places that will require a name change should be included because you’ll want to make sure you purchase enough copies of your certified marriage certificates to go around.
This means that asking how to change your name after marriage should happen prior to the wedding, not after.
Take the time to look at the list we have compiled for you, and add on anything else such as alumni associations, airlines that may have your name for things such as reward miles, and even your attorney.
Once you’ve got this list created, start making some calls to see what each place needs as far as proper documentation.
This will help to ease your anxieties over changing your last name.
So, take a deep breath and take everything one step at a time.
KW: How to Change Your Name After Marriage