Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Change of Name 101

Does the daunting task of changing your name after your wedding have you stressed out? If you are like many brides, it may be difficult to know where to even begin in this process. As a wedding planner, I am constantly getting asked by my brides for advice on this area and as a recent bride myself, I wanted to share a few tips with our readers.

First, let's go over the first two documents that MUST be changed in order to get anywhere in the name changing process. These are your driver's license and social security card. Once you have received your marriage license (keep in mind that you must bring a certified copy of the marriage license - a generic photo copy will not suffice), take this along with your old driver's license to the DMV to have a 'duplicate' driver's license issued. Often times, the DMV will tell you that all you need is an update card with your new last name to carry along with your current driver's license; however, many agencies (especially Social Security) do not like this and ask that you have a current photo ID with your new last name printed. The 'update card' is a free service and the fee to obtain a new driver's license is $10. My personal opinion is to suck it up - pay the fee and get a new driver's license - it's a lot easier in the long run!

Ok, so you have your new driver's license in hand...now what? Head to the local Social Security office with BOTH your new driver's license and your old driver's license (yes, they will give this back to you, but with a hole punch stamp indicating that it is no longer valid), along with your marriage license. The Social Security Administration will process your application (free of charge) and issue you a new social security card in your new last name. Your new card will arrive in the mail within 7-10 business days.

Once the above items have been completed, it's time to change your name on the rest of your documents. The following is a list of items to help you remember:

  • Credit Cards
  • Bank accounts, personal loans, student loans, mortgage documents
  • Passport
  • Voters Registration (this should be taken care of at the time you change your name at the DMV)
  • Insurance policies (Auto, Home/Renters, Health, Life, etc...)
  • Taxes
  • Property titles
  • Medical Records
  • Employer (this is important for paychecks and federal/state taxes)
  • Investment and retirement accounts
  • Utility bills
  • Any other important documents or bills that pertain to you

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