PHOTO: Aga Tomaszek
Not everyone will change their name after they get married. More and more women are keeping their names because the history behind changing one’s name is a bit off putting – but sometimes tradition overrides the meaning of the tradition. I’d love to tell you that changing your name is super quick and simple, but unfortunately that’s not the reality for most. It all depends on what you currently have in your name – property, credits cards, cars, etc.
Before you can get started, you need to have an original or certified copy of your marriage license. Keep this document handy and in a safe place where it can be easily accessed.
I personally have a box called the Important Box. I put my only my most important documents, my passport, birth certificate and my spare car key in it and at the very least I always know where those things are.
GET A NEW SOCIAL SECURITY CARD
You CANNOT apply for a name change online. Take your marriage license and a photo ID (it still has your old name and that’s ok) to the Social Security Office. You can download and complete the Name Change Form in advance. Your new Social Security Card will arrive pretty quickly.
GET A NEW DRIVER’S LICENSE
Do yourself a favor and make an appointment. Be sure to bring your the original or certified copy of Marriage License and your current driver’s license When you arrive, ask for a Form DL44 (name change form) and fill that out carefully.
GET A NEW PASSPORT
You can apply for a name change in your current passport or if yours is close to expiration you can just apply for a new one. If you do this by mail, you are required to send the original or certified copy of Marriage License. Do not worry, they will send it back.
UPDATE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
Gather up your new Social Security Card, new Driver’s License and the original or certified copy of Marriage License and head to your bank. Your banker will update your account. You’ll be issued a new debit card and you’ll need to order new checks (yes, checks still exist).
INFORM YOUR EMPLOYER
You will need to fill out a new W4 form. You’ll want to update your name and you may need to update the number of deductions if that is changing.
UPDATE BILLS AND LOANS/MORTGAGE
You’ll need to contact each company to whom you pay a bill. Each one will have a different protocol and will require something different. Some companies will allow you to change your name over the phone (smaller non-government companies) and others will require that upload your marriage certificate in order to make that change.
– Consider holding your name change until the first of the year to avoid any potential tax confusion.
– Check the mail and see your old name? Call that company immediately and update.
– Create your own Important Box (see above) to hold only your most important documents.