Just Married? Change your Name on Financial Accounts

How to Change your Last Name on Financial Accounts

Just Married
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The wedding and the honeymoon are over and you’re now settling into life as a married person. One of your first priorities after getting married is to completely merge your life with your new spouse. This means moving in together if you haven’t already, deciding whether or not to combine your bank accounts and, if you’ve chosen to do so, changing your last name to your spouse’s.

Luckily, changing your last name is one of the easiest aspects of getting married.

All that is required is some paperwork and your time.

If you received wedding presents in the form of checks written out to a name that doesn’t yet (or might not ever) exist, see tips at the end of this article – you might not have to wait until your name is officially changed.

Steps to Changing Your Name after Marriage

1. Locate your documents

Before you got married, you applied for your marriage license. The marriage license was then mailed to you or given to you and two witnesses signed the license (usually at the wedding). Once signed, the marriage license is mailed back to the county clerk’s office and you are sent an official copy of your marriage certificate within one week.

2. Update your Social Security card

Once you have an official copy of your marriage certificate, the first thing you want to do is update your Social Security card. Your number will stay the same, but your last name will change.

Fill out Form SS-5 and mail it in or take it to your local social security office. Your new Social Security card will be mailed to you within 10 business days.

3. Change your name on your driver’s license

In order to change your driver’s license, you need to go to your local DMV with the correct paperwork in hand—including your marriage certificate, your old driver’s license and your updated social security card.

While there, you should also ask about changing the name on the title of your car and vehicle registration.

4. Update your financial accounts

Once you’ve received your new driver’s license, you can now update all of your financial records—including bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards and more. If you are keeping your same accounts, just head to your local bank with your driver’s license and marriage certificate in hand. Speak with a personal banker to get all of your information updated. Remember to request new checks in your new name if you rely on checks regularly.

Note: If you’re combining bank accounts with your spouse, make sure they come to the bank with you.

5. Update all other information

Most of your other documents can be updated online or via the phone—such as your car insurance, utility bills, passport, doctor’s records or post office information. You can also update this information as it comes. For example, instead of updating all of your bills at once, update them as they come in. This process makes it slightly less stressful than trying to remember each and every little detail of your life. Eventually, all of your documents will be changed to your new last name.

Changing your name should be one of your first priorities once you’re back from your honeymoon. While it can seem like a daunting task, break it down into baby steps and make it a goal to complete one step each week until everything is finalized.

Time is of the Essence?

After making your marriage official, you might be tempted to take a breather from all the paperwork. But it’s really a good idea to update your financial accounts as soon as possible. Life will only continue to speed up for you – there will never be a convenient time to do this. When you go through other life changes (such as job changes, moving, and other events that demand your time and energy), you will appreciate having account names that matchbecause it’s easier to make those important deposits and withdrawals if everything is tidy.

Checks to the bride and groom might be an exception. Your loved ones, while well-intentioned, likely wrote checks in a variety of different ways, possibly making assumptions about if and how you’ll change your surname. On the bright side, at least they wrote you a check instead of buying a toaster.

If you’re staring at a pile of checks with mismatched names, wondering if you’ll ever get to deposit them, take the checks (and your spouse) to the bank. Bring a copy of your marriage certificate, and explain the situation. In many cases, bank staff will allow these one-off deposits – just ask how exactly to endorse the checks.

The long-term solution is to get your accounts properly registered and get everybody familiar with your correct name. You don’t want ​to have to go to the branch every time you get a check.

 This article was updated and added to by Justin Pritchard.