In my last post about changing your name after getting married, I discussed the first place you should go: the Social Security Administration. Once you’ve changed your name there, it’s time to move to the next big change:
Second Stop: the Department of Motor Vehicles
While I occasionally complain that the DMV requires too many pieces of paper, at least they required identification when I wanted to change my name. Of course, I was also requesting a new driver’s license, so it made sense that they needed my previous license, but I appreciated that at least they wanted some proof that I was who I said I was.
Be sure to bring a certified copy of the marriage license with you as proof of your marriage. Some states also require that you wait until your new Social Security card has been issued, some want you to wait a day or two after filing for a change with the Social Security administration, and some do not require any previous action before changing your name at your state’s DMV. Check your state’s DMV for more information. Also be prepared for a picture to be taken for your new license.
The DMV was my second stop in the name-change process because it makes subsequent name changes easier. At the DMV you can also update your voter registration card and your vehicle registration.
Third Stop: Employer & Benefits
All of us want to get paid, so your employer will need to know your new name (and address, if you have moved). You will also need to review your tax forms and possibly change withholding and the type of filing (married, versus single).
You will also need to update any benefit packages, such as insurance, usually within 30 days of a “life event.” Marriage definitely counts as a life event! This means you need to begin the process early. Paperwork has a way of dragging on for a while.
While you are filling out forms, take care of changing beneficiaries to insurance policies and financial accounts, if you desire. You may also want to update your emergency contact person to your spouse. Also update your 401(k) and/or retirement plan. This would also be a good time to order new business cards, if you like.
Fourth Stop: Passport
You should also update your passport early in the name-change process. A passport is a powerful form of identification, and you should change it to match your other forms of identification. Besides, you do not want to be stuck trying to expedite the process if you want to take a vacation in the future.
Be aware that this is a slow process. You will need to mail in the appropriate form, your current passport, a certified copy of your marriage license, 2 color passport photos, and any fees applicable.
From here on out, the steps are somewhat interchangeable as to order. You will need to change your name all these places, but the exact order is less important, though your circumstances may dictate the order for you.
Next time, I’ll describe the last places to change your name — it’s a long process, but having a checklist helps.