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Many women change their names after getting married, which can be a major undertaking. Men also sometimes change their names after a wedding. Understanding every place you need to let know about the name change will make changing your name easier. A woman changing her last name because of marriage is easier (and less expensive) to do than a man trying to change his name for the same purpose. It’s also more difficult for a woman to change both her middle and her last name (making her current last name her new middle name).

Timing Considerations

Don’t start the name change process at once if you will go on a honeymoon or trip soon. You need to have your name match up to the travel documents you’re using.

Decide Whether to Use a Name Change Service

There are services that handle the entire process or offer a kit for a fee. However, you can do it yourself as well if you want to save money.

Wait for Your Marriage Certificate

Your marriage license gets signed at the wedding. Mail it to the county clerk’s office and wait for about a week for the official marriage certificate. Many places will want to see a copy of this marriage certificate before changing your name in their records. Get at least two certified copies of this marriage license. You use these as proof of your marriage when changing your name.

Start With Social Security

Next, you must let the Social Security Administration know that you’re changing your name. They will issue you a new card with the same number but with your new name. You must fill out Form SS-5 and mail it or bring it to your local social security office. It takes about 10 business days to receive a new card. If you don’t take care of this, it could cause problems at tax time. The Social Security Administration will inform the IRS of the name change for you. Bring proof of citizenship, your marriage license, proof of identity (such as a passport or driver’s license with your picture), and your current social security card.

Next, Change Your Driver’s License

Bring the marriage certificate, your new social security card, and your current driver’s license to the local DMV. Then you can get your name changed in their records. They also update your driver’s license, car title, and car registration. You may also get your voter registration updated here. Sometimes you must pay a fee to get a new license.

Talk With Human Resources at Work

You must get your benefits and paychecks put in your new name. Otherwise, you’ll have issues with taxes and social security benefits. You may want to change your insurance and your beneficiaries due to your marriage. You may need a new email to which the old one forwards. Ask about new business cards and a new listing in the company directory. Change your voicemail message to reflect your new name.

Take Care of Any Financial Institutions

Once your main forms of ID are all set, start working on notifying any relevant financial institutions. This includes your credit cards, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. Check with each institution to figure out which paperwork you must complete. Your bank may need you to go in person to do this. They typically want you to sign the paperwork in front of them with both your old and new signatures. Order checks with your new name and a new debit card, which may involve a fee.

Deal With Bills As They Arrive

There’s a lot of paperwork associated with notifying everyone that you’ve changed your name. With most bills, you can just tell them as the bills arrive. Your creditors will update your info with the credit reporting agencies. You will still have a valid credit history under your new name. This includes utility companies, cell phone provider, TV/internet provider, online and magazine subscriptions, gyms, and school loan provider.

Get a New Passport

Likewise, you can apply for a new passport when you plan to take a trip to another country. Leave plenty of time to get the new copy before you leave or you must pay a rush fee. If your current passport is less than a year old, you’ll get a new one for free. Otherwise, you must pay for a new passport.

Other Important Places to Notify When Changing Your Name

Contact your doctor’s office, insurance company, and post office to let them know you’re changing your name. If you have a landlord or a mortgage, you must notify them. The same is true of your attorney, alumni association, and professional licensing boards. Your attorney can update any relevant legal documents. If you’re in a frequent flyer program or other rewards card programs, inform the companies of the name change. Change your name on social media.

Wedding Present Check Considerations

Don’t worry if the names on the checks you received at the wedding don’t match your current names. Go together to the bank with your marriage certificate and explain. Most banks let you do a one-time deposit. You need not wait until you’ve completed the name change paperwork.

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