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By Allison Videtti
Vows have been taken, toasts have been given and first dances have been waltzed (or, if you’re like me, they’ve been stumbled through in an extremely weak attempt at dancing).
In any case, the big day has come and gone, and you’re finally married. Now the real fun can begin – updating documents!
Marriage is more than a romantic union between you and the man/woman of your dreams. It’s also a legal agreement, and that means telling your financial institutions, your employer, and the many other companies you do business with about your new status.
Pro Tip: To make your life easier, be sure to request multiple copies of your marriage license. You’ll need them to update nearly everything, and making a photocopy often won’t do – some places will require a certified copy. They are supposed to return it to you, but don’t always, which is why you should order multiples. (My husband and I ordered five copies and we only have one left.)
Once you have your marriage license in hand, it’s time to get to work. Here are the accounts and documents you want to be sure to update after saying “I do”:
If you’ve changed your name, this should be your first stop. You’ll need your social security card to change your driver’s license and you’ll need your driver’s license to change everything else. It can take a few weeks to get your new card, so do this early. I filled in the forms before I headed to the Social Security office, and I was in and out pretty quickly. You can find the forms on the Social Security Administration website.
Once you have your new Social Security card, take it and your marriage certificate to the DMV. If your license doesn’t have your current address on it, be sure to take proof of residency to update your address, too. You can call your state’s DMV office or go online to find out what constitutes proof of residency. For example, in Illinois, documents can include a bank statement, a canceled check, a credit report and a utility bill, among other things.
If you’ve changed your name, you’ll need to notify your financial institutions. At Alliant, you can change your name by filling out our name change form, supplying the requested documents and faxing or mailing us the form and documents. You may also want to open a joint account or add your spouse to one of your existing accounts after you’re married. You likely will have to provide your spouse’s name, date of birth and email address, though some financial institutions may require you to provide more information.
If you’ve changed your name, your employer will need that info. Even if you haven’t, you may have to update your payroll information with your HR department – your newly combined income may put you into a new tax bracket and, if so, you may need to change your withholding. The IRS withholding calculator can help you determine how much to withhold for your new filing status.
If you haven’t done so before tying the knot, you probably want to update your life insurance and retirement savings accounts to make your spouse the beneficiary. In the case of life insurance, you should reevaluate whether you have enough coverage, especially if you purchased a home.
Take stock of your health insurance options. Are you better off signing up with your spouse’s health insurance, or vice-versa? Should you keep your separate plans? Figure out what will be the best fit for your health and what makes the most sense financially. Most employers set a time limit on how long you have to make a change after a “qualifying event” such as marriage, so have this conversaton with your spouse right after you get married. And don’t forget to notify your provider if you changed your name so you can get new insurance cards.
Be sure to reach out to your homeowners or renters insurance company, too. If you haven’t lived together before, you now have twice the amount of stuff to insure – not to mention some extra jewelry in the form of wedding bands. Take an inventory of what you have and call your insurance company to discuss your coverage.
Also, remember to look into your auto insurance coverage. If you both have cars, shop around to see if you’re better off insuring both cars on one policy rather than insuring them separately. In many cases, you will get a better deal bundling your home/renters insurance and auto insurance together.
If you changed your name, be sure to notify your creditors, such as your auto loan lender, mortgage lender and credit card companies. This will ensure your new name shows up on your credit report. Remember that getting married doesn’t mean your spouse’s credit activity will show up on your report. This will only happen when you open a joint credit account.
If you can’t remember which creditors to call, pull a free copy of your credit report and review the creditors included. You may want to pull all three credit reports – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – because not all creditors report to all three bureaus.
As a reminder, you’re entitled to one free credit report each year from each bureau through annualcreditreport.com.
The excitement doesn’t end once you’ve updated all of these accounts. You’ll still need to notify: Doctors’ offices if you’ve changed your name or need to add your spouse as your emergency contact
Sit down and make a list of all the accounts you have, and try to make a dent in them each week. Just don’t be surprised if a year or two later, you discover a random magazine subscription or long-lost retail account that you forgot to update. You’ll get to all of them eventually!
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