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Make it Legal

The dress, the flowers, the guests, the celebration – your wedding day was perfect. So now that you’re officially married, how do you go about changing your legal name? Here are the steps you’ll want to take to formally take your new surname once you’ve said, “I do”.

Obtain your marriage license.

In order to change your name, you’ll first need to have on hand your original (certified) marriage license. This is the certificate that has a raised seal, and features your new last name. If a copy wasn’t automatically sent to you, you can obtain one by simply calling the clerk’s office where you got your marriage license filed, or you can visit the office and request a copy in person.

Change your Social Security card.

You can request a new Social Security card via mail by visiting the Social Security Administration’s website and printing/completing the application, or in person at your local Social Security Administration office. If you plan to request your new card in person, be prepared and bring with you:

  • Proof of Citizenship: your passport or a copy of your birth certificate

  • Proof of Name Change: a certified copy of your marriage license

  • Proof of Identity: this must show your name, date of birth, and a recent photograph. Examples include a driver’s license, passport, state-issued identification card, or U.S. military identification card.

  • Your current Social Security card

Your Social Security number will remain the same, but your last name will be changed in the system to your new (married) name within 24 hours. You should receive your new card within 10 business days.

Change your driver’s license at the DMV.

Once you’ve completed the application for your new Social Security card, wait 24 hours to allow for the processing of your new name before you head to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license with your updated name. Bring with you several forms of identification, including your new Social Security card (if you have it on hand), your current driver’s license, and your marriage license. Be sure to call ahead and find out if you’ll need additional proof-of-ID forms in order to meet your state’s requirements for changing your name on your driver’s license. Some fees may apply.

Change your name on your bank accounts.

It’s important to change your name on your bank accounts, particularly if you have or will be setting up a joint account. The quickest way to do this is to visit your local bank branch in person and bring with you your new driver’s license and your marriage license. In addition to requesting your name change on your accounts, be sure to also request new checks and debit/credit cards with your new name on them.

Everything else!

Now that you have your new driver’s license and Social Security card with your new name, the process of making name changes on other miscellaneous items should be fairly quick and smooth. Some companies/groups you’ll want to notify include: post office, landlord or mortgage company, employers, airlines (to transfer your miles), electric and other utility companies, schools and alumni associations, credit card companies, doctors’ offices, voter registration office, insurance companies (auto, home, life, medical), your attorney (to update legal documents such as a will).

It may seem overwhelming at first glance, but changing your name is simply a matter of some paperwork and phone calls. The process will be well worth the time and effort when your ID cards, credit cards, documents and other materials all match up and feature your new, married name!

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