5 Simple Steps for Changing Your Last Name When Getting Married
Many people decide to change their last name after tying the knot. If you’re a newlywed who’s decided to take your spouse’s surname, here are some useful tips on how to make the change official.
Step 1: Obtain your marriage license.
Before changing anything, you need your original marriage license (or a certified copy) as proof of marriage.1 Contact the clerk’s office where your license was filed if one wasn’t sent to you. It’s also a good idea to purchase additional copies, as you may need them for your name change and possibly other reasons such as benefits enrollments, taxes or a home loan.2
Step 2: Update your Social Security card.
Your marriage license may not be enough to update your bank accounts or other official documents. You’ll need a Social Security card with your new surname. To get this, visit a Social Security Administration office (with marriage license in hand) or mail in paperwork to your local office. The Social Security Administration makes it easy by providing clear instructions on what you’ll need to bring, forms to fill out in advance and the location of your nearest office.3
Step 3: Head to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Visit the DMV to update your driver’s license. Every state has its own documentation requirements for a name change, so research your state DMV’s website beforehand to make sure you bring the right paperwork to save time and avoid hassle. Most offices require the following documentation:4
- Your new Social Security card or receipt from the Social Security office
- Your current driver’s license and/or U.S. passport
- Proof of address – an unopened mailing with your name and current address
- Certified copy of your marriage license
Step 4: Update your financial accounts.
Next, notify your bank, credit card companies and retirement accounts. Most institutions allow you to request a change in person, by email or by fax, but you may need to provide your marriage license or new identification as valid proof.5
Step 5: Make a list of everything else.
Your name appears in more places than you think. For example, think of your employer, mortgage company or landlord, utility companies, and auto-pay accounts (gym, Netflix, etc.). Update your passport or other travel documents, too.
1 How to Change Your Name After Your Wedding, Brides.com, 2020.
2 Why Is It Important to Have Your Marriage Certificate?, Vital Records, 2022.
3 How Do I Change or Correct My Name on My Social Security Number Card?, Social Security Administration, 2022.
4 Name Change, DMV.org, 2022.
5 Just Married? How to Change Your Name on Financial Accounts, The Balance, 2022.
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