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What's in a Name?

Eight simple steps to changing your name


So you just got married—CONGRATULATIONS! —now let the paperwork begin! According to a 2015 survey conducted by Google, roughly 70 percent of women take their husband’s last name, but it can be a baffling process. To help you through, we’ve outlined the 6 must-have stops on your path to a new name. Follow these tips to make this step towards marital bliss a breeze (because we can’t do much about figuring out household chores—you’re on your own on that one).

  1. Marriage License. Get a certified copy of your marriage license with your new last name on it (the one with a raised seal). In this case, a photocopy of the original document just won’t cut it. The certified copy should have been mailed to you, but if you don’t have a copy, contact your clerk’s office. They should be able to obtain one for you.
  2. Social Security. This is vital. You’ll need a new Social Security card to ensure your payroll withholdings, retirement benefits and more remain accurate. A new Social Security card will also be your passport to changing your name with most other financial agencies. You’ll need to file Form SS-5 with the Social Security office to obtain a new card.
  3. Driver’s License. Check with your state Department of Motor Vehicles for specific instructions, but you’ll want to make sure you have an updated driver’s license or identification card. An updated driver’s license is necessary for registering your name change with most financial institutions, like your bank.
  4. Work. Tell your employer—they’ll want your paycheck and benefits to reflect your new last name. Now is also a good time to update insurance coverage and beneficiaries while you’re at it.

    Begin your adventure together with a solid financial future.

  5. The Bank. You might be an online banking wizard, but this update might require an in-person visit. Most banks will request your driver’s license in order to change your name on your bank account (see? told you this would come in handy).
  6. Everyone Else. This can be where it gets tricky; it’s easy to forget just how many places need your updated info. You should remember to inform your insurance agent, make sure your passport is up-to-date, call your credit card company(ies). And don’t forget your mortgage company will need your new information, as will voter registration offices.

Of course, if you just don’t want to bother and are willing to part with some money (typically $30 to $50), there are several online services that promise to take care of everything but the marriage certificate. Whatever your decision, it doesn’t have to be a hassle. As you continue with your new life together, make sure your insurance is keeping pace. Ask your Farm Bureau agent what you can do to protect those moments that matter.