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Change Your Name Checklist

Change Your Name Checklist

Changing the name after marriage totally depends on the wish of the bride. It is an issue, which should be discussed by the bride and the groom before they take the plunge. Whether the bride decides to change her name to the groom's last name, or to keep her maiden name or to hyphenate her name or to keep her maiden name as her middle name and groom's surname as her last name, it should be respected by her family. You will require certified copies of your marriage license (no photocopies, instead use the originals, which you can get from the authorities issuing the marriage license in the first place). Getting a marriage license in your new name does not mean that your name will change accordingly on all the required documents. You need to notify the concerned authorities regarding the same. Following is the name change checklist generally required for the citizen of the USA:

  • Social Security Card - Changing the name on you social security card will help you avoid the problems with your payroll, taxes and retirement benefits. It is also considered as a primary identity proof while changing your name with the financial institutions.
  • Driver's license - The second most important document where you need to change your name. Check the rules and the documents needed with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Changing your name on the driver's license helps you update the voter as well as the vehicles registration in your new name.
  • Investment accounts - Notify your banks, shares and other investments in the market. These include share market, banks, insurance companies, credit card companies etc. Some of these offices change your name at your one phone call. However, some of them ask for your identity proof or marriage license or personal appearance at the related office.
  • Will - After you get married, do not forget to change your name on the will. You might also want to change the beneficiaries as well as the nominees and add you husband's or wife's name to it.
  • Work Records - Go to the Human Resources (HR) and get your name changed on the medical, dental as well as the pension plan (if any). Here also, you might want to name the nominees and the beneficiaries.
  • Utility bills - Notify your service providers such as the phone company, the electricity and others.
  • Memberships - Do not forget the memberships at the gym, health club, spa or any other organization that you are member of.
  • Credit cards - Credit Card companies will change your name on one call. You don't need to go there or submit any proof for the new name.
  • Property titles - Now that you have new family member, change the property titles which will avoid legal hassles in future.
  • Medical Facilities - Notify your family doctor, the company of your spouse so that they can add you as the beneficiary and other medical plans that you have availed before getting married.
  • Internal Revenue Service - You will need to submit the social security card for the name change at the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Passport - Change the name on the passport after you come back from your honeymoon because as you have done these bookings before getting married, the bookings will be in your maiden name, which is ideal as you don't have any proof of the new name when you are on your honeymoon.
  • Mortgage - Any mortgage or lease needs to be changed in your new name to avoid the legal hassles and the confusion it causes.
  • Voter registration - You also need to change you name on the voter registration card.

As mentioned earlier, it depends upon you whether you want to change your name or stick to your maiden name. There are two sets of opinions regarding this. These are:

A bride should change her name:

  • for the children's sake. It would sound odd if the mother and the children's last names are different and when the children are young they tend to be confused by this difference.
  • because it is the tradition.
  • as his name might be actually better than yours and this is the best opportunity to upgrade (remember Gale Weathers from the Scream Series?)
  • as it is an emotional connect with the man you love.

A bride can keep her maiden name:

  • when she has carved a niche for herself in the field she is working in and people recognize her by that name professionally.
  • if she is the last one carrying her family name and the line will die out after her.
  • his name is really embarrassing or does not go with your first name. For instance Beth Geller will sound funny after she becomes Beth Bennett.

When you plan to change your name, go to the local authorities for the proper information and instructions as the laws change from state to state.

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