Changing Your Name & Status

The wedding is over and now you’re married! Congratulations newlyweds! So now what?

Once your Marriage License has been processed and you have received the Certificate of Marriage from the state, then you can start the formal name change any time you like. Some choose to enlist a service like “Miss Now Mrs.” but you can certainly do it yourself.

Here’s a list of things that will require your attention:

Social Security is a must on the list of things to do. Below is a link to all the information they will need and the forms you will need to print.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will be next:

Below is a link to their website that tells you what to bring. The applications to change both your license and your vehicle registration are there as well.

Your Passport:

If you are leaving for the Honeymoon right after the wedding, remember to travel with your maiden name, because those with miss matched names don’t fly well… Applications are in the link below for after you get home!

Note: The Passport requires an Original Certificate of Marriage.

Some are uncomfortable sending their only copy on a vacation so soon after receiving it. Me? I always like to have an extra copy of everything “just in case”, so remember when getting the license you can ask for extra copies of the certificate in advance. If you were married on Long Island or anywhere in New York State other than NYC, here’s your link to get copies.

Or you can contact the issuing city or town hall, if you know which one it is.

If you were married in one of the 5 boroughs belonging to the City of New York, Manhattan, Kings, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, here’s your link.

Other Things to Think About…

…and/a the list of some people to inform of your change of status… This applies to both of you.

Credit Cards: You don’t have to share but you may want to authorize the card company to speak with your spouse.

Bank Accounts: Joint accounts and direct beneficiary supersede the directives of a will or spousal inheritance. Make sure there’s no former partners in those spots.

Investment Accounts: Same as above, so read that twice, as it’s really important when avoiding probate.

Mortgage Company / Landlord / Insurance Policies – Health – Life – Auto: Sometimes being married lowers the rate as in car insurance, unless one of you is a maniac. But again, that either of you can question a bill or amend update or renew a policy means that both names have to be on it in some form.

Deeds: Congratulations on owning a home! You are already both on the deed and that’s awesome. However, if it’s worded “Tenants in common” and not “spouse” there is no direct transfer of ownership if the worst should happen. Your spouses half could end up in probate with relatives wanting what they could see as their portion

Work Related Information: For example, changing your status to file jointly next year, adjusting how much is taken out of your check every week, and notifying your health insurance provider.

Utility Bills: Electric, Gas, Fuel Oil, Cablevision… If you have a question about a bill there’s nothing more infuriating than being told they’re not allowed to talk to you without permission from the account holder, regardless of marital status. So both of you should be authorized users on all accounts. You’ll also need contact all these providers if you are changing your address!

Speaking of which… Don’t forget to notify:

Post Office – Medical Records – Doctors Offices of the change… because they do still use snail mail.

Update legal documents: Wills, Living Will, Healthcare Proxy,

Memberships including your gym – any subscriptions – and voter registration: Basically anywhere they may question your ID not matching their files.

The last thing I am going to mention is that if you are considering and identity theft prevention service such as LifeLock, now might not be a bad time to register. The Marriage License has your Social Security Number, your mother’s maiden name, your address and place of birth all right on it at a time when The Suffolk County Clerk’s office has just had a data breech.

Finally, don’t destroy that old Driver’s License just yet! But believe it or not, this isn’t as daunting as it looks in print.

You are already on your way!

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