Are you about to take the name change plunge? This is not just a question for the bride-to-be. Modern couples are hyphenating, adjoining their surnames together (keeping the maiden name as a middle name) and even creating entirely new last names. No matter what your choice, here is a reminder list of businesses, government agencies and financial institutions who may want to know about your new name and how to do it.
Your easiest option is to do nothing at all. If you’ve built a name for yourself professionally, you may want to maintain that “brand name.” It may take a while for co-workers, friends and family to get used to your new name. Never be afraid to courteously correct people when they erroneously use your maiden name.
Changing the Brides last name after marriage is considered the socially acceptable thing to do and most Brides do however, this is always your choice. Some women choose to keep their maiden name for professional reasons, some feel as though by changing their name they’re losing a part of their identity, while for others, the decision relies heavily on family and traditions.
Often couples in many Spanish speaking countries give their children both their father’s last name and their mother’s maiden name to preserve the heritage of both families. When marrying, a woman has the option of keeping all her names and adding her husband’s last name or dropping her mother’s maiden name.
Many brides are curious about what happens to their credit when they change their name. Do they lose their credit history and start over with a new name? Do they need to notify the main credit bureaus of their name-change? No. When you change your name you do not need to notify the three U.S. credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experion. When you update your name with all of your creditors (banks, credit cards, etc.) these bureaus will add your new name to your account and keep your maiden name as well. This way you keep your established credit and build credit with your married name.
When you update your name with all of your creditors (see list below) the bureaus will add your new name to your account and keep your maiden name as well. This way you keep your established credit and build credit with your married name.
NOTE: Some places (including state and U.S. government offices) may require you to show a certified copy – not photocopies – (see Larry’s Note #1 below) of your marriage license before they will legally change your name. You usually get this from the Clerk of the Court where the marriage license was recorded. Certified marriage certificates will have a raised state and/or county seal on them. The seal ensures that the certificate is a legitimate copy of the original marriage certificate. If your document does not have a seal, it will not be accepted as a certified copy.
If you are changing your name you may be concerned that your maiden name is printed on your certified marriage certificate or that you signed the certificate with your maiden signature. Not to worry! As long as your name and your husband’s name are listed on the certificate you can use it as legal proof of marriage for name change purposes. The name you are changing to does not need to be listed on the certified marriage certificate.
Larry James always makes a copy (for his file) of the part of the license that he sends to the Court Clerk just before he places in in the envelope and it is usually sent on the first business day after the wedding. Arizona law requires that it be sent by the Officiant/Minister who performed the wedding ceremony within 10 days.
• Social Security card – Begin with this agency because it needs your correct name and ID number for payroll tax withholdings and retirement benefits. A mismatch between your name and Social Security number could trigger a rejection of your tax return. Having your new Social Security card will also help you change your name with financial institutions and other contacts on your list. Click here to download a Social Security form to make a name change. It takes about 10 days or more for IRS records to be updated after the Social Security Administration effects your name change. You are required to show or send a certified copy of your marriage license to Social Security.
• For directions to the North Phoenix Social Security Card Center in the Greater Phoenix area, click here.
Larry’s NOTE: Don’t change your name before your honeymoon. Make your honeymoon reservations using your MAIDEN name. Your new name has to match all travel documents, most importantly, your passport and processing name changes on passports generally takes anywhere from four to six weeks.
• Driver’s license – Most state Department of Motor Vehicles (DVDs) require a certified copy of your marriage license to change your name. More info.
Note: Most of the links below are intended especially for someone living in Arizona.
• Car registration and title – More info
• Rental agreement for your house or apartment
• Telephone company – More info
• Water company – More info
• Electric company – More info
• Household security system and alarm company
• Credit cards – More info
• All bank checking and savings accounts – More info. Not all banks require a certified copy of your marriage license.
• Mutual funds, stocks and bonds
• Insurance policies – You may want to change the beneficiary.
• Legal Contracts
• Last will and testament – Don’t have one? Get one! You may want to change the beneficiary to your spouse at the same time.
• Voter Registration – More info
• Post Office “Change of Name Form” – More info
• Employee ID card
• School ID card
• School Alumni Association
• Sorority or Fraternity organizations
• Library card
• Discount, courtesy, and frequent-flyer cards
• Health club membership
• Video rental card
• Tell the HR department at your place of work so they can start the process of changing your e-mail address and business cards.
• Cellphone company
• Employee Records for your paycheck
• Magazine subscriptions
• Doctor’s offices & Medical Organizations – Medical plan, Dentist, etc.
• Address labels
• Online registrations for eZINES, etc.
• Internal Revenue Service – More info
• Are you a Notary Public? Don’t forget to notify the state or risk losing your commission.
QuickLink to a Sample “Notice of Name Change Letter.”
If you live in Arizona, click here for a summary of additional questions you may have about changing your name.
A search on Google will bring up numerous Websites where you can purchase “Name Change Kits,” however most Brides find that the information and the links listed on this page can accomplish the same thing.
Larry’s Notes: #1 – It is recommended that you also purchased one or more “Certified” copies of the marriage license (about $27.50 each in Arizona) to be sent to you after the license is filed by the Officiant with the Clerk of the Court. Some agencies require it but do no send it back so, ordering several “Certified” copies is recommend. If you order 2 or 3 certified marriage certificates you can begin to file multiple forms simultaneously and not have to wait for one to be returned before you file the next request to change your name. Click here for more info about obtaining your Marriage License in Arizona.
#2 – Do not make your honeymoon reservations in your married name especially if you are leaving within a few days of the wedding. It often takes 4 to 6 weeks or more to receive your “Certified” copies. The passport people will not accept a photo copy.
#3 – If a newlywed husband wants to take his wife’s name, as of today’s date, only eight states – California, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina and New York – will allow him to follow the standard married name-change procedures. Everywhere else, the man would have to undergo a legal name change, which requires petitioning for a court order and running ads in local papers notifying the public of the change, and can cost $100 to $400 total. Same-sex couples may be similarly put upon in states that do not allow or recognize gay marriages or civil unions.
#4 – Another option. Take your spouse’s name legally, but keep your given name professionally. A couple of female editors at Kiplinger’s have followed this route for the best of both worlds – keeping with tradition in their personal lives and maintaining their professional brands.
As with so many legal matters, the rules change by municipality, so check with your local city hall to get specifics.
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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