Changing your name… The dreaded process that many brides are hesitant to even begin because… where do you start?

Here are some pointers:

First of all, start early.  You can download, print, and fill out all the required forms weeks or even months before the wedding if you want to get it out of the way.  Stick the forms in envelopes addressed to the appropriate offices and then put them in a safe place to drop in the mail after the wedding.

So, what do you do first?  You need to change your name/address with the Social Security Administration, DMV, and IRS.  Yes, it’s a pain but we’ll try to make it a little easier. Click the pink links below for more information about each process:

1. Social SecurityDownload the Application for a Social Security Card (click on the “SS-5″ link), fill it out and then you have two options – take it into the local office or mail it in.  Either way, you’ll need to provide documents proving your maiden and married name including (1) a certified copy of your marriage certificate which you can get from the courthouse after the wedding for a small fee, and (2) a document showing your maiden name and identity such as your driver’s license or passport. You can get information on the whole process in their packet “What Every Woman Should Know.”

2. IRS: The official name change process through the IRS is complete when you change your name with the Social Security Administration; however, if you need to also change your address you’ll need to fill out Form 8822 – Change of Address.

3. Driver’s License: After you’ve contacted the Social Security office and receive your new social security card, you can then change your name with the DMV.  Since you can probably count on having a long wait, take some thank-you notes for some serious multi-tasking.  In order to change your name with the DMV,  they require that you show a certified copy of your marriage certificate as well as your current driver’s license. You will not be able to change your name on the title of your car, as any change to the title of a vehicle is only issued with a transfer of ownership; however, you can change your name on your vehicle’s registration.  

4. Passport: There are two forms for changing the name on your passport, and the one you  need to fill out depends on how long ago your most recent passport was issued.  See the options below for more information.  With either form, you’ll also need to send  your current valid U.S. passport (you’ll get it back in the mail)  and  two recent color photographs, which you can get at any drugstore.

Option A:  If your most recent passport was issued less than one year ago, you will need to complete Form DS-5504  Application for a U.S. Passport: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement.

Option B:  If your most recent passport was issued more than one year ago, you need to complete Form DS-82Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail.  You also need to include the application renewal fees with your paperwork.

5. Other companies, agencies, associations who need to be notified of your name change and/or address change may include any of the following: employer, USPS for change of address, professional organizations, state licensing boards, college or alumni association, house utilities providers, insurance companies, bank, credit card companies, voter registration, dentist/doctor, mortgage or car loan companies, fitness center, schools (if you have children), and your lawyer (to revise living wills, trusts, power of attorney, etc.)