How to Change Your Last Name: A Step-by-Step Guide for Future Wedding Couples
Congratulations on your upcoming or recent wedding! As you embark on this new chapter in your life, one step many couples consider is the process of changing their last name. We’ve prepared a detailed guide on how to change your last name in Texas, and any state in the US. (We are in several states and growing).
We’ll use Texas as the main example, but the process should be similar in all states. Here’s how to do it, in four easy steps!
1. Obtain Your Marriage Certificate
Importance of the Marriage Certificate
Before initiating the name change process, ensure you have an official copy of your marriage certificate. This document serves as the primary evidence of your legal name change. Be sure your wedding officiant signs your marriage certificate after the ceremony. Once it’s signed, it must be mailed or delivered to the County Clerk’s office where you got the document.
Getting Your Copy
If you got married in Texas, the county where your marriage was recorded will have this certificate. Visit the county clerk’s office, and be prepared to pay a nominal fee for a certified copy. It’s $5 for a certified copy in Travis County, as of fall 2023.
2. Social Security Name Change
2.1. Visit the Social Security Administration (SSA)
Begin your name change journey with the SSA. Without updating here first, you might face issues with taxes and employment.
2.2. Required Documents
Bring your current Social Security card, the marriage certificate, and a form of identification like a driver’s license or passport.
2.3. Fill Out the Application
Complete the “Application for a Social Security Card” (Form SS-5). This form is free and can either be downloaded from the SSA website or picked up at a local SSA office.
3. Update Your Driver’s License
3.1. Visit the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) (or local DMV office in your state)
Once the SSA has updated your details, head to the DPS. It’s recommended to wait for at least 24-48 hours after visiting the SSA to ensure the systems are updated.
3.2. Gather Necessary Documents
Take your current driver’s license, marriage certificate, and proof of Social Security number change. You may also need proof of residence if you’ve recently moved. A utility bill or phone bill usually works. Some states may require a new photo, so be prepared!
3.3. Pay the Fee
There will be a fee for a new driver’s license. Prices can vary, so it’s advisable to check the current rate on the DPS website or call ahead. In TX, it’s $33 for anyone ages 18-84.
4. Passport and Travel Documents
- Update your passport to avoid any travel interruptions.
- Complete the required form for a name change (e.g., DS-82 for U.S. citizens).
- Submit it with your marriage certificate, current passport, and a new passport photo.
5. Final Steps in the Name Change Process
After the main changes, don’t forget to:
- Update bank and credit card companies. They may require a certified copy of your marriage certificate and a new signature card.
- Inform your employer to ensure tax documents reflect the correct name.
- Modify any titles, deeds, or other legal documents.
- Notify your employer’s HR department to ensure your benefits, retirement accounts, and paycheck reflect your new name.
- Update any professional licenses you hold.
- Update your information with health providers, insurance companies, and other related entities. This includes medical, dental, auto, home, and life insurance.
- Don’t forget to update memberships or subscriptions.
- Don’t forget about your digital presence! Update your name on social platforms (if you choose to) like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email accounts.
Changing your last name in Texas (or any state) after marriage involves several steps, but by following our guide, the process can be straightforward and stress-free. Remember, the key is preparation. Ensure you have all necessary documents before starting and, in no time, your new name will be reflected across all of your official records!
That’s it! We hope this article was helpful. Please share it with anyone who may need it. Congratulations on your new journey! Enjoy every moment with your new name.