So any lady who has been recently married and is going to change her name has probably googled “How to Change Your Name,” at least I know I did! There were so many steps and things that I didn’t think about that I would have to do. My lovely husband suggested that I write a post about my journey from Miss to Mrs (at least in all legal capacities). Although each person’s case is unique, below are all the steps I took (and in what order!) to change my name when I went from Miss to Mrs.
Before you begin:
Practice your new signature! I totally forgot to do this so I was completely unprepared to sign for new documents with my new last name (which has a cursive capital “F” by the way, very unfair!).
Secondly, separate all necessary documents and put them in an envelope or folder that you take with you to EVERY APPOINTMENT.
- Driver’s License or Official ID
- If changing address: 2 official documents with new address (bank statement, utilities bill, financial institution, rent lease, etc.)
- Old Social Security card (and new one when you get it)
- Original Marriage license
- Checks or enough cash
- School/work ID (I never had to use it but just in case)
- If getting joint bank accounts: your husbands ID and Social Security card
Step One: Social Security Card
The Social Security office MUST be your first stop. You cannot get any other documents without this. It surprisingly did not take me more than an hour and lots of papers. Make sure to bring ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that can identify you, you never know what they’ll as for. Once you finish at this office they will give you a receipt that your social security card is being updated, you MUST bring your old card and this receipt until you get your new Social Security Card with you.
Step Two: Official ID
Wait at least 48 hours before attempting to get an updated ID. I learned this the hard way because I tried to update all my stuff too quickly and I was turned away 🙁 Instead of going to the DMV (with is equivalent to being in hell in my opinion) I researched that I was able to go to my county Tax Collector to update my driver’s license (again, check the rules in your county). Since I was changing my name AND address I had to bring extra documents to prove I actually lived at my new address.
Sidenote: you will be taking a new ID picture so make sure to look fabulous 🙂
At this point you do not have to do things in a particular order so the following are just what we did.
Step Three: Bank Accounts
My husband and I decided to join our bank accounts; I added him on to mine and he added me onto his. Keep in mind that most banks require both parties to be present at the same time for this transaction. We did both in the same day and it took us about 2 hours total. Make sure you bring your spouse’s information (Social Security card and an ID). Make sure you discuss before you show up to the bank if you both want debit cards, checks, and credit cards for these new accounts. It just saves time and awkwardness to talk this stuff out in the privacy of your own home.
If you are not joining accounts, you can obviously skip this step but you will still need to update your account information.
Step Four: Social Media & Online Accounts
Really this was step one for me because it was the easiest but it’s less important so I bumped it down a few. Change anything and everything online you want to change but the easiest thing for me was when I used my accounts for the first time after the wedding I just went on my profile and updated it. That made more sense to me than making a grand list and doing them all in one day. Get ready for people to freak out when you change your Facebook account.
Things to change:
- Website shopping/membership profiles
- PayPal/Etsy/Ebay/etc. (not a huge deal but I would prefer any shopping site profiles to match credit card information)
- Anything and everything else you do online slowly but surely!
Step Five: Work Information
Every company’s HR is totally different but you usually have to contact HR before you can change any work-related insurance or retirement accounts. To make the process easy, I emailed my HR person and asked for the process and documents I would need to bring then I brought them, and voila I was done. If you have an ID card, show up fabulous again for that new photo. I am a highschool teacher so I wanted this done over summer to avoid loss emails and issues with my work computer come August. Choose a time that is easiest for you with work to make these changes (i.e. right before a project deadline is NOT a good time to get locked out of your computer).
Step Six: Passport
If you don’t plan on going out of the country anytime soon this isn’t as important of a step BUT
- Your passport serves as a great secondary photo ID
- You’ll probably forget to do it when you need to so just get it out of the way
- If you are updating it a year or less before you last one was issued you pay no fees
I waited a week and a half to update it from my Social Security Card but there were still issues with matching up my new last name so I would wait a little bit longer. Basically you fill out a short form, submit your old passport, 2 color passport-sized photos, and the ORIGINAL name change document (i.e. a marriage license). Sending the original made me super nervous so make sure you have a scanned copy electronically AND a paper copy just in case.
All the other little things…
There a huge category for things to update but aren’t a huge deal (i.e. Church registration, mailers, voicemail, resume…) Just do them as they pop up. I’m sure it’ll be at least a few years to really finish this process.
Making the process less painful
Don’t think you’ll be standing in lines for hours on end to get all of this done. Most places take appointments, although there is some wait time involved. Where I couldn’t make appointments, I showed up 30-15 minutes before opening and finished in about an hour.
Also, try to fill out the forms ahead of time (like at home) that way you are not caught blind-sighted with information you need but may not know (like your husband’s SS#).