After months of wedding planning and preparation, the big day has finally come and gone. But there is still one last hurdle to overcome. You have a marriage license that formally recognizes your new last name, but that does not qualify as official recognition. You had probably already decided a while back that you would take your new husband's last name as soon as it was legally possible. But now, having heard from other brides just what a daunting task lies ahead, you're beginning to wonder whether keeping your name isn't a better option.
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However, changing your name needn't be complicated as there are services available that can take the process off your hands, making it a completely painless procedure. Here is a step-by-step guide to everything you need to know about changing your last name.
Get Your Marriage Certificate
Before you can begin the marriage name change process, you will need to have your original marriage license in hand. If you aren't in possession of it already, you can contact the clerk's office where your license was filed to receive a copy. A marriage certificate is the legal record of your marriage that you will need to use throughout the name changing process.
Change your Social Security Card
Once you have your marriage certificate you are ready to start the process of changing the name with the Social Security Administration. Before you are able to change any other government agencies or institutions, you will first need to change the name on your Social Security card. This involves filling out the state-issued form ss-5 and providing two different forms of identification that will prove your name and age, and also that you are a citizen of the United States. You will also need to produce your marriage certificate to establish the reason that the name change is required. A birth certificate, certified marriage license, passport and driver's license are all valid forms of identification.
Update Official Documents
Having received your new Social Security card you are now ready to begin changing the name on official documents such as your driver's license, ID and passport. Take all the documents required by your local Department of Motor Vehicles with you, including your current driver's license, marriage certificate, and new social security card. You will then need to fill out an application form, prove your identity through those documents and pay a small fee.
Notify Your Employer
Your new Social Security card that verifies your name change will also need to be presented at your place of work so that the administration will then be able to register your change of name on their work payroll. This will assist the SSA in keeping track of the amount that you've already paid into Social Security. Your employer will then need to see that your new name is also registered on your medical, dental and other accounts so that your coverage will be continuous.
Change your Bank Accounts
Whether you are opening a new joint bank account or have an existing bank account, the best way to change your name is to go to your bank's nearest branch with your marriage certificate and driver's license or state id. Apart from changing the name associated with your bank accounts, you should also ask to be issued a new checking account, as well as new debit and credit cards.
Change the Rest
All that is now left to do is to figure out every possible organization that still needs to be notified of your name change. Top of the list should be any official bodies that have not yet been notified including voter registration, car title, mortgage, car and health insurance, utilities, contracts at work, doctors and dentists, investment accounts, memberships and social media. If you have any difficulty in dealing with the administration of any of these organizations where your change of name is concerned, and if you have filed your name change in court you can show them proof by offering them certified copies of the court order
Take a Shortcut
Thankfully, there is a much easier way to get your name changed. If the thought of going through the steps listed above makes you break out in hives you'll be happy to know that there are name change services such as UpdateMyName.com that will help gather and autofill your name change documents, saving hours of time and hassle.