After your wedding is finished and you’re ready to begin your life with your new husband, you will probably want to change your last name. Whether you are going the traditional route and taking his last name or opting for the hyphenated version, there is still some paperwork that you’ll need to complete to make it official. Fortunately, this job doesn’t require your attention until after the wedding is over, so you don’t need to waste time thinking about your name change or taking care of any of the processes until afterwards so you can focus all of your attention on planning the wedding. That being said, it can still seem a bit intimidating when the time comes to finalize your name change, but fortunately the job is actually quite easy with a little help navigating the process.
Obtain the Marriage Certificate
The first thing you’re going to need to change your last name is your marriage certificate. Most states send these out automatically as soon as they finish processing them, and that can take between 2 weeks and a month usually. All you need to do is sign the license at your wedding, send it into the state, and they will send you back your marriage certificate so you can start taking care of the other steps in changing your name.
File With the Social Security Administration
Once you have your official marriage certificate, you can now prove that you are married and get a new copy of your social security card. Once you have a new social security card with your new last name on it, you can start to change other official documents such as your driver’s license or state issued ID card. Basically, you just need to fill out a form SS-5 (available here) and mail it into the Social Security Administration with all the required documents. They will return your documents immediately and you will receive your new social security cards in around 2 weeks, or you can choose to go into your local office in person and have it processed on the same day.
With your new social security card in hand, you can make the trip to the DMV and order a new license or ID card with your new last name on it. This is the last piece of the name change puzzle that requires specific steps because once you have your new photo ID you have all the documents to prove who you are. The DMV is going to charge you the standard replacement fee for your new license, but this is the only fee associated with the entire name change process.
Updating Documents and Accounts
Now that your name is officially changed, the last thing you need to do is update your identity with any open account holders or official documents. You will want to make a trip to your bank and contact other financial institutions such as your credit card companies. If you have a mortgage, insurance policies, or other holdings that are attached to your old name, you will want to update your information on those as well. It will take some time and you will likely have a few accounts trickle in over the first year that you overlooked, but you will eventually get everything change to recognize and reflect your new name change.
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