Wedding name change kits are widely available over the internet on wedding websites and stationary supply stores that specialize in wedding accessories. However, most of these wedding name change kits contain instructions or forms that are freely available or are not legally required. The convenience of name change kits is, however, undeniable. But in a world of ethical and unethical businesses, “caveat emptor,” buyer beware, should be the reigning attitude when distinguishing one kit from another. Some of these kits may contain no more than directions on how to apply for name changes or forms that are unnecessary for you to file which are required by the government.
First, let’s look at what’s legally required. In the United States, your social security number is the first and most important form you should complete if you are changing your name after you get married, or if you change your name for any other reason. Your social security number and the name that goes along with it is entered into thousands of government databases, and the simplest way to retain accurate records with all government offices is to first file Form SS-5, which is “An Application for a Social Security Card” with the Social Security Administration. And let your employer know, it’ll make their life a lot easier too.
If you delay filing the proper name change form after your wedding, it could affect receiving any tax rebates or social security payments or benefits you might be entitled to, as well as any children or former marriage partners, now or in the future. Once you file your wedding name change with the Social Security Administration, you do not need to notify the IRS. The Social Security Administration will notify the IRS of your married name change – no other IRS forms are necessary. Just make sure your married name matches your social security number when you file.
You can visit the SSA website and download the SS-5 form for free, or you can call or visit their local office. When you apply for your wedding name change, make sure you have proof of identification, such as your driver’s license and birth certificate, as well as your marriage certificate. You must bring a photo i.d. with you, and they will accept an expired photo i.d. with your former name on it. Once you have filed the SS-5 form with the Social Security Administration Office for your name change, you will receive a new card with your new married name.
The second most important change will be on your driver’s license, primarily because your driver’s license is a legally accepted form of identification for everything else. Once you have your new social security card and new drivers’ license in the name you agreed to take after your wedding, it will be much easier to notify other agencies of your wedding name change. It’s a good idea to keep a certified copy of your birth certificate and marriage certificate on hand for all of your name change applications, as well as your new social security card and driver’s license.
Wedding name changes filed with the SSA are much easier than changing it with the DMV, but it is an evil necessity. Every state has a Department of Vehicle website with simple instructions on how to file a name change. As simple as the instructions are, they will almost always require a trip to the DMV office, all the identification you can muster, and more than a few dollars out of your pocket. A Wedding Name Change Kit can not substitute the fact that you have to show identification to the DMV. If your wedding name change means you need to change title and registration information, there are separate forms and requirements at the DMV for those also.
Passport wedding name changes are free if you file within a year, and the name change form (DS-5540) is available online at the US Department of State. Making the changes to your passport requires certified copies of marriage certificates and other documents, not notarized or photocopied documents. Certified copies cost money, which varies by state. The federal Center for Disease and Control lists information on obtaining Vital Statistics, such as birth, marriage, divorce and death, from every state office, which is typically the state’s Department of Health’s Department of Vital Statistics.
Wedding name changes require a bit of money and a bit of work, even if you do purchase a Wedding Name Change Kit. Take care of your wedding name changes for your social security card, driver’s license, and passport first. Once these name changes are officially recognized after your wedding, it will be easier to provide proof to other agencies of you wedding name change. A Wedding Name Change Kit might offer some convenience, but you will still be responsible for obtaining certified copies and showing up in person. Caveat Emptor is the Wedding Name Change Kit philosophy – and knowledge of the wedding name change requirements by government agencies is your best protection.