A quick checklist for changing your name after marriage

One of the aspects many new brides may look forward to after their nuptials is changing their last name to that of their spouse. However, doing so involves several steps, many of which should be taken in a certain order so that their taxes, identification and financial records are all up to speed. This is because a person's name change will affect more than their signature - it may also impact their filing status, financial account information and passport documents. 

The first step individuals should take after getting married is to obtain certified copies of their marriage license. Many agencies will require a copy of this information before they can take any action on changing a spouse's last name, so securing several copies can help new couples avoid processing delays. In addition, it's important to note that the documents must be certified copies - not photocopies - as these are typically the only documents an agency will accept. Once this step is completed, spouses should begin the name change process with the Social Security Administration. 

Government offices to contact for a name update
The SSA is perhaps the most important office to speak with first, because a person's name and Social Security number must match in order for them to file their taxes. As W-2s, 1099s, payroll tax withholdings and other pertinent information are linked to a person's Social, a mismatch could not only lead to delays, but also a rejection of their tax return. The government agency will ask the individual to fill out Form SS-5, which will notify the IRS of their new name and allow them to update their records accordingly. In addition to taxes, most financial institutions may also request a person's new Social Security card before they agree to open new accounts for couples. 

The Department of Motor Vehicles is the next agency a new bride should contact, as some banks may also require proof of the name change by examining their new driver's license. In addition, individuals may also be able to update their voter registration, vehicle registration and blood donor status at this location as well. Once a newlywed has her new driver's license, she should also contact creditors to update her name so that her credit history reflects the change.

Finally, individuals should tie up any loose ends and contact any entity with whom they have an account. This includes utility companies, cellphone providers, tax services, physician's offices and their insurer. 

For a more in-depth look at Liberty Tax Service, visit the Give Me Liberty! Magazine. Follow Liberty Tax on Facebook and on Twitter or contact Liberty Tax directly at 1-877-at-Liberty.