- Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall
Ok, I’ve done this before, and here’s my experience with it.
First, you’ll want to put together what I lovingly call the Identity Theft Packet. Get an envelope (not a folder – get something that closes) and in it place:
* 2 copies* of your certified marriage certificate
* certified copy of any other name change (divorce/adoption/court order) docs you have
* your birth certificate
* your social security card
* your drivers license (if you don’t normally carry it with you)
Don’t leave this envelope lying around. Don’t leave it in your car, don’t leave it poking seductively out of your bag. It’s not called the Identity Theft Packet for no reason.
Drivers license. They usually only want to see the marriage certificate. It cost $3 to get it changed in my state.
Passport. If you got your passport less than a year ago, you can change your name for free. If it’s been more than a year, it costs some money. http://travel.state.gov/passport/fri/ChangeName/ChangeName_851.html or go to your post office for the form. You’ll fill some stuff out and send them a copy of your marriage certificate, and possibly other name change documents too.
Social security office. Mine wanted to see my birth certificate, my drivers license showing new name, my certified marriage certificate, and my other certified court document showing a name change. You fill out a form and they’ll mail you your card in 10 days.
Bank. My bank wanted to see my new ssn card, so that had to wait.
Same goes for HR at my employer.
Retirement and Health Insurance. Mine wanted faxes of certified copies of the marriage certificate and previous name change documents, along with a photocopy of my DL with new name.
Credit accounts are all different. One of mine just had a place online where I could type in my new name. Another wanted me to mail a certified copy of the marriage certificate, a photocopy of my new DL, and a ‘letter of explanation’ (Dear Credit Card Peeps, I got MARRIED. Kthxbye.) My car loan holder wanted the name change documents faxed.
Don’t forget your ‘smaller’ accounts. Store charge acccounts, landlord, gym memberships, savings clubs. Most of these will just want to see your new DL, if that.
If you’ve moved you’ll need to fill out a change-of-address. If not, at least have a word with your postal carrier. It seems intuitive, but some carriers may slap a ‘return to sender’ on mail addressed to You NewName if they’re used to delivering your mail to You OldName… and vice versa.
By now, the social security card has arrived. Off to the bank! My bank basically wanted to see the entire contents of my Identity Theft Packet. If you use checks, don’t forget to order new ones.
My Human Resources also wanted a lot of documentation. They have to deal with the IRS, so that’s understandable. If you use ID cards or name badges at your workplace, you’ll need to update those too.
Finally, the IRS. Depending on when you changed the name with social security, your IRS documents might come in your old name. There are instructions on the tax forms on what to do if it’s addressed to the wrong last name (do NOT simply ignore it!).
If your husband had you as a beneficiary or cosigner on any of his financial or health documents, he will need to change those too. Most of those changes won’t require any documentation from you, but he might need the marriage certificate.
If either of you is adding the other to their employer benefits as a spouse, you’ll need the certified marriage certificate.
Eventually, your passport will come in the mail, and you’re pretty much done. Little things you forgot will creep up: a magazine subscription or something… but you can handle those as they come.
I also recommend carrying around an ID showing your old name (an old student ID for example). This can come in handy when you’re in the in-between stages of name-changing.
*2 copies, even though they cost some $, because some places want you to mail them one and it may be a while before you get it back.