I’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently raising the debate of changing your last name after the wedding. It seems to be a pretty even split between people who are going to change their last name and those who aren’t.

While there is no right or wrong thing to do in this department, if you are going to change your last name, the process can be a long tedious one. It’s also confusing and a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, let me break it down for you…

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When changing your name due to marriage, there are a series of steps you have to follow. But, before we get to those steps, here are few things you need to know first….

  • If you’re leaving for your honeymoon immediately or in the days following your wedding, you’ll want to book your honeymoon under your maiden name. You cannot change your name due to marriage prior to the wedding and there is literally no way the process can happen in a matter of two days.
  • You must wait until your marriage license has been mailed off, processed and you receive your copy back in the mail before you can begin. This can take at a minimum two weeks. I have heard of it taking as long as 4-6 weeks depending on where you live and how long it took for your officiant to mail it in.

Okay, now for how to actually change your name…

  • Once you receive your copy of your marriage certificate in the mail, you’ll start the process at your local Social Security office. Plan on arriving when they first open so you can be in and out. Waiting for your number to be called is the longest part. There is paperwork you have to fill out which you can print and do at home before visiting. However, if you’re going later in the afternoon, you might as well do it there because you’ll be waiting a while.
    • Tip: Unless you live in a smaller town, don’t plan on going on your lunch break. You won’t have enough time.
  • While you won’t leave with a new social security card that day, you will leave with a letter stating that you have officially changed your name with the office of Social Security. This will allow you to change your name at the DMV and Passport office.
  • Before going to the DMV, verify what documents you will need to take with you. This varies based on if you’re just changing your name or changing your name and address. Unfortunately, you can’t do this online and will have to go in person with that letter from Social Security to take care of it. However, while you’re there, you can also pick up the documentation you need to change your name on your passport.
  • After you’ve made the change at both Social Security and the DMV, you can proceed with changing it everywhere else. However, some banks are particular and will require you to have your new social security card – not just the letter – to change your name. Just double check before going.
  • You’ll want to be sure you change your name at the following places:
    • Banks
    • Retirement Accounts
    • Employer
    • Investment Accounts
    • Car Title
    • Insurance Companies (Life, Medical, Home and Car)
    • Doctor’s Offices
    • Utility Company
    • Phone/Internet Company
    • Credit Card Company
    • Gym
    • Everywhere you have an account…
  • I know the everywhere you have an account one is daunting. However, once you’ve changed your name with the major places (banks, loans, insurance companies, employer, and doctor’s offices) you can change it everywhere else as it comes up. For example, your pest control provider doesn’t need to know immediately. You can wait until your next bill to make the change.

Alright, I know that was a lot of information so if you have questions, leave them below and I’ll be sure to answer!