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Who to Notify When Changing Your Last Name

You did it! You're married - your wedding is a wonderful memory behind you and you're settling into newlywed bliss. Only one thing left to do: update your new last name! There’s a definite method to the bureaucratic madness of changing your last name: First get your marriage certificate, then visit the Social Security office, and finally make a stop at the DMV.

  • Marriage certificate: Remember applying for that marriage license? You signed a similar form at your wedding and it was mailed to your county's government office. No need to do anything but wait - the official marriage certificate will now be mailed to you. Each county has a different wait time so double check your local office if you want to know the specific timeline.
  • Social Security: Now that you have your marriage certificate, you can easily make your social security name change official. You can update your name at no cost at your local Social Security Administration office, which you can find at ssa.gov or by calling 1.800.772.1213. A marriage certificate and a completed application form are required (available online or in office), as well as proof of your old name, like a photo ID (perhaps that driver’s license you’re about to trade in?). Tip: Make sure to update your new address if you've just moved so your new card doesn't get mailed to your old place of residence.

Who to Notify When Changing Your Last Name
Photo: Dan Thorson Photography

  • License:  Once your new Social Security card comes in the mail, motor on down to the nearest DMV service center (find it at dot.wisconsin.gov) with your marriage certificate, your new Social Security card, and any other proof of ID you can get your hands on. You’ll be rewarded for all that patience (and for shelling out $34) with a fresh license with a new photo to go with your new name. Tip: If you own a car, make sure to update your Title while you're there!
  • Everyone else: You’ll want to spread the word about your name change to your banks, credit card companies, telephone provider, doctor’s offices, insurance companies, health clubs, and pretty much anyone who sends you important mail. Update your address and new name with friends and family via text or a cute postcard. If you've moved, make sure to update your post office and have your mail forwarded, as well as register with your new name at your current address. Brides are often advised to wait until after the honeymoon to make the name change official. Changing the name on a plane ticket might prove costly, and having a different name on a passport and ticket could cause problems with airport security. Take the honeymoon with your maiden name—you’ll have a whole lifetime as the Mrs. to make up for it.
Who to Notify When Changing Your Last Name
Who to Notify When Changing Your Last Name

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