|Here comes the bride's name change
Alerting the Social Security Administration is critical
because if you don't officially make the change before you file
your first tax return
with your new name, the name and ID number on your 1040 won't
match Social Security records. That, says Bruce Gray, a CPA in San
Dimas, Calif., will cause the IRS to reject your return. "This
can be a problem particularly if you are filing at the last minute,
as it may cause the need for an extension if not timely resolved,
or may even make your filing delinquent."
Next, your car, company and
Now it's on to your state's department of motor vehicles for a new
driver's license. This photo ID card will greatly simplify other
name changes. And while you're there, change your motor vehicle's
registration to reflect your new name.
Of course, you'll tell your employer of your new name,
so that it will be reflected on your post-marriage paychecks. They're
much easier to cash when your endorsement matches your new driver's
You'll also want to make sure that your company benefits,
such as your health insurance coverage and retirement account, show
your new name. This also is a good opportunity to update the beneficiaries
on work-provided benefits, such as life insurance or your 401(k)
plan, as well as look into whether you want to include your spouse
under applicable company coverage.
From this point, your name-change route is much like
the one you take when you move. The agencies and companies that
you need to inform of your new name include:
- bank or credit union.
- brokerage and other investment accounts.
- mortgage company or landlord.
- credit card companies.
- department store accounts.
- insurance companies or agent (auto, home, life, etc.).
- medical offices (your doctor, dentist, etc.).
- utilities (phone, electric, natural gas, heating oil, etc.).
- state and local (city and county) tax boards.
- passport office.
- post office.
- voter registration board.
- other miscellaneous accounts and memberships (Internet service
provider, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, auto club, alumni
Pay special attention to your creditors. Even if you
keep paying your bills, if you don't notify the companies and businesses
with which you have accounts, your good credit history can disappear.
"Failing to report name changes to creditors
can cause your married name credit history to be nonexistent,"
says Gray, "as they will not record any credit history under
the married name, only the maiden name."
It wouldn't hurt to notify the credit bureaus, too,
although a spokesman for Equifax says the companies track individuals
by Social Security number. So as long as you notify your creditors,
your name will be changed as they make their reports on your account
to the credit report company. But letting them know directly will
reinforce that change.
And don't forget to call your attorney so that official
changes are made to legal documents, such as your will, living will,
health care proxy, trust, power of attorney and any contracts, says