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How to Change Your Last Name in 10 easy steps

Once your perfect wedding day filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after is over, the real work begins - it's time to change your last name! Changing your last name is one of the most tedious, annoyingly painful (yet necessary) processes that you will have to go through when you get married. Unfortunately, you can't just change your Instagram handle and call it a day!

There are several different steps that you have to go through in order to legally change your name. But before you throw in the towel and resort to just keeping your maiden name out of pure exhaustion (and confusion), we're here to help! Here are 10 easy steps to changing your last name after you get married.

1. Get Married (Legally, With a Marriage License!)

Approximately 90 days before the big day, you should apply for a marriage license in the county in which you will be married (even if you don't live there). When you do this, you will have the option to apply for certified copies of your marriage license as well. DEFINITELY GET COPIES! We recommend at least two or three. The price of a marriage license ranges for each state, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 - $115 for the license itself and $5 - $26 for each of the certified copies.

2. Get a New Social Security Card

The first piece of identification that you should change is your social security card. Due to covid, there are some offices that are still not accepting in-person appointments. If your local office is doing mail-ins only, no worries - this is still a safe and effective way to get things done (it just make take a few extra days). When you head in to get your new card (or if you are applying via the mail), you will need the following:

  1. Proof of Name Change (this is where the certified copy of your marriage license comes in!)

  2. Proof of Identity (valid driver's license, passport, military ID, or state-issued ID)

  3. Proof of U.S. Citizenship (passport or birth certificate)

  4. Current Social Security Card

3. Get a New Driver's License

Unfortunately, this step must be done in person, no matter what (I know, I know... the DMV isn't anyone's favorite place!). Here is what you will need when you go to your appointment:

  1. Current Driver's License

  2. New Social Security Card (so you need to wait for this to come in!)

  3. Certified Copy of Your Marriage License

  4. Proof of Address (can be a utility/water bill, insurance payment, mortgage bill, etc.)

  5. Form of Payment (credit card, cash, or check)

4. Get a New Passport

The first step in renewing your passport (if you currently have a valid one and just need to update your last name) is to fill out the DS-82 Form. You will need to send this form in for your renewal along with the following:

  1. Certified Copy of Your Marriage License

  2. Current Passport

  3. Photograph (they are very specific on photo requirements, so make sure that you do it correctly per their website! I recommend just going to your local Walgreens or other pharmacy that offers passport pictures an having them take your photo for you, That way, you don't have to worry about redoing the entire application!)

  4. Form of Payment (if it has been less than one year since you last updated your passport, you will not have to pay a renewal fee. Otherwise, be prepared to purchase a brand new passport for $100+.)

PRO TIP: You will most likely not have your new passport yet when you go on your honeymoon, so when booking accommodations, flights, excursions, etc., be sure that you have your maiden name on everything! Otherwise, you'll be carrying your marriage license around everywhere.

PRO TIP: If you need a new Global Entry Card, this must be done in person. Once your passport is updated, head to your local Global Entry Enrollment office (and be sure to bring your current GE Card!). After you arrive, the process is simple - you should be in and out within just a few minutes. The price for a new GE Card is just $25. To update your TSA PreCheck information, call 855-347-8371 or update your information online, here.

5. Change Your Last Name on Your Bank Account(s)

Whether you and your spouse are keeping your finances separate or combining them in a joint account, it is very important that your bank account(s) are in your legal last name. Just head to your local branch to get this done quickly and easily (all you need is your marriage license, new driver's license, and new social security card). All account numbers, routing numbers, and debit card numbers should remain the same (unless you are combining accounts), but you may want to order updated checks with your new last name on them.

6. Change Your Last Name on All Insurance Policies

This includes homeowner's insurance, car insurance, life insurance, etc. Each company may have a different protocol to change your information, so give your local representative a call or visit their website for the quickest, easiest way to get this done.

7. Update All of Your Credit Cards and Rewards

You will want to change your name on all of your credit cards as well as your travel rewards/airline miles. This is fairly easy - just call each card/company, request a new card with your new last name, and they will ship it to you!

8. Update Your Lease/Mortgage, Utilities, Internet, etc.

The next step is to take care of all things home/apartment. This includes the name on your lease/mortgage, utilities, internet/cable, etc.

9. Update Your Last Name on Your Employer's Records

In order to ensure that your W2 (or 1099) is correct at the end of the year, you need to notify your employer's HR team of your name change so that they can update your records accordingly. This may also include receiving a new email address, badge or ID card, and/or nameplate for your desk! And don't forget to change that email signature, too!

10. Update All Other Accounts

Last, but certainly not least, it's time to tie up the loose ends and update your social media, Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime/Disney+/Paramount+/Peacock (seriously, how many streaming services are there these days?!), Spotify/Apple Music/Pandora, and the list goes on! This might actually be what takes you the longest because there are sooooo many different platforms to change your name on, but luckily, it is also the easiest as it involves zero forms, appointments, permissions, or fees.

And there you have it! How to change your last name to your new married name in 10 easy steps. Cheers to YOU and your new last name! xx

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