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Episode 007. How To Legally Change Your Last Name

February 8, 2022

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Weddings & Life with Taylor Nicole, a podcast by Denver Wedding Photographer,
Taylor Nicole Photography

wedding podcast, wedding planning advice, wedding planning podcast

Intro:  So you’ve said I do, celebrated with your closest family and friends, gone on your honeymoon and now what’s next… Well you might want to start the process of legally changing your last name. It can feel a little daunting as you’ve probably never done this before so I thought I’d break down the process and share the main steps and things to remember when changing your name legally. If you’re ready to start the name change process then listen into this episode.

This episode was a fun one to write. I was personally so excited to change my last name after marrying Austin. I started the process right away because we wanted to get our bank accounts joined. Totally a different preference for everyone there, not trying to insert opinions about money management as a couple haha.

I’d say got about 90% of it done quickly, but somehow I still have one savings account in my maiden name! I have it on my long to do list to fix this in 2022. Over four years later. Oops. In my defense they won’t allow me to change my name unless I fax them my marriage license and who on earth has a fax number/machine anyways!

I know changing last names is optional or maybe even not as popular any more. I’ve seen both brides and grooms changing their last names as well as completely changing names to a new last name all together. Also the following tips also apply if you are hyphenating your last names together. Lastly, I just read the tip that you could make your middle name your maiden name, which could be helpful if you forgot to change your name on an account too. So if you’re looking into this process here is my general list of a good order to do this in as well as extra places to remember to check! 

  • First, wait until you get your marriage license back. You will need that for everything else.
  • The very first step to changing your name legally is your Social security card! Short story this involves filing out a form (you can download the SS-5 form online and complete it ahead of time) and taking your proof of name change (aka your marriage license), your proof of ID so your drivers license or passport. You need the originals of each of these documents, not copies. I’ve read you might be able to mail this in, but personally I liked just going into the office and submitting everything in person. Then I got to take all of my documents home too.
  • Next step is to change your name on your driver’s license. So I think you could actually do this before your social security card is complete. I know I did the social security first but it looks like that might not be a requirement for a license change. From what I know you would go to your local DMV with your valid driver’s license and your marriage license (your official license not a copy!) And they can get it set up for you.
  • Now is the harder part, remembering all the accounts and registrations that your old name is listed with, which is basically everything. Bank accounts, credit cards, savings accounts. These can be as simple as telling a support agent over the phone your new name, or has hard as faxing your marriage license over to them! 
    • Once you’ve changed your name on any credit cards and accounts you have you may need to update your auto pay accounts as well.
  • Passport- so for international travel your passport just needs to match your drivers license I believe. I know I used my old passport for our honeymoon and then updated my passport later on. Actually I waited to change my passport because I knew we weren’t going to travel internationally while my husband was in school so I just changed it in 2020… just weeks before the shut down. For this you actually have to mail your old passport along with your original marriage license and any required forms to fill out to the passport office… Now I can say that’s not the thing to do in February of 2020 because I didn’t receive my new passport until September of 2020 and my marriage license back for weeks after. 
    • Word of advice, if you do need to mail your original marriage license anywhere I’d recommend taking a picture of it, or making a photo copy to save on your computer. Just in case it was lost you’d still have immediate proof. And then you can go to the county office of your marriage license and order a new one to be mailed to you if it is lost.
  • DMV car titles (literally just now thought of this! We ended up needing to replace our cars in our first year of marriage anyway so it ended up alright haha)
  • Official documents with employer
  • Insurance policies
  • Frequent flyer miles or airline rewards ect.
  • Voter registration
  • And of course the fun one of Facebook/IG all the social media platforms. 

Also while you’re at it this is a good time to update your mailing address with all of these too!

Lastly, if this list is a little too daunting then maybe consider a paid option. The one I’ve seen most recommended is Hitchswitch. I will link it below and in the blog post. 


I hope this short episode was helpful. If you know a friend who is starting the name change process after their wedding maybe pass this along to them or save for your own future reference.

xo,

Taylor Nicole

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