After your honeymoon, you’ll likely return to the humdrum of daily life. You’ll have work to review, home duties to attend to, and many new challenges to tackle as you navigate the first few months of marriage. As a result, the last issue you’ll want to think about is that final, arduous, wedding planning task—your official name change.

After your wedding, you'll need to complete one final detail--your name change.

With a nod to all our busy brides who want to make the merge but don’t have time to research, today I’d like to try to make the process a little bit easier after your Las Vegas weddings. I’ve compiled a list of the top ten name change tips, complete with information on what to do and how to do it for Las Vegas’ Clark County. With this list, you’ll begin to quickly set your official name change into motion, whether you’re taking your husband’s last name, hyphenating hers-his for your last name, or even combining letters of both last names to make a new family.

How to Officially Change Your Name:

1.     Facebook: Update your Facebook account. Is it official? Well, not really. But is it a fun, easy way to start this process? You bet!

2.     Marriage Certificates: Order two to three certified copies of your recorded marriage certificate. You can do this in person at the Clark County Recorder’s office, by mail, or online here: Order Las Vegas Marriage Certificates. Make sure these will be sent to your current address under your maiden name.

3.     Social Security Card: Request a new Social Security card. While your Social Security number remains the same, you need to change your name with this government department before you can change it elsewhere. Print forms online or call (800) 772-1213 for forms sent by mail. Then file these completed documents in person at a Social Security office near you.

4.     Driver’s License: Apply for a new Nevada driver’s license at a Department of Motor Vehicles branch of your choice. Bring all your legal documentation of name change, including your new SSN card, current driver’s license, certified marriage certificate, and application form. Yes, you will have retake your photograph for your new license and be a pro at signing with your new last name.

5.     Vehicle Registration, Titles, and Insurance: Change your name on car titles and registration. Bring these documents along when you reapply for a driver’s license to avoid more than one trip to the DMV. Also, while you can’t modify your car insurance policy through the DMV, you can place a call to your car insurance company as you wait at the DMV to see what your specific insurance company requires for your name change.

6.     Bank Accounts and Credit Cards: Visit your banks with your husband. Add your spouse as a joint owner to your account and have him do the same for you. Even if you plan to keep separate accounts, you may want to make the merge to develop a sense of trust and transparency. Next order new checks, credit/debit cards, and ATM cards. Don’t forget to bring along your new driver’s license, Social Security card, and marriage certificate to each bank.

Always take your marriage certificate with you! Here's an example of what to order.

7.     Employment and Health Insurance: While your boss is likely aware of your change in marital status, make it official with your company’s Human Resources department. Depending on your job, you may be asked to provide your marriage certificate, Social Security card, driver’s license, and current insurance cards. Then order new health insurance cards, add your spouse to your coverage and benefits plan, and (if necessary) change your work e-mail address after notifying your entire contact list.

8.     U.S. Passport: Obtain a new passport with a U.S. Passport Agency. You can find the official forms online here: Change my Name for U.S. Passport. Send your forms, fees, certified marriage certificate, new photo, and current passport to a passport agency near you.

9.     Voter Registrar: Update your voter information for your county by visiting a local registrar’s office or by visiting the Nevada Secretary of State’s website, printing the online form, and submitting it through the U.S. Mail. You can find the online form here: Voter Application Form for Nevada. Remember your name change submission must be received a minimum of thirty days before the next election.

10. Deeds, Doctors, Death and Taxes: Have your marriage certificate and new identification on hand as you finish informing professionals and departments of your name change. Some additional items to consider include: credit reporting agency, deeds, Internal Revenue Service, life insurance policy, loans offices, medical records, memberships, online accounts, post office, property titles, stock certificates, student records, and wills.

Las Vegas brides, most departments will be willing to work with you as long as you have the proper identification and legal documentation. So be sure to have a copy of your marriage certificate and new ID with you at all times. Also, while it doesn’t cost anything to change your name, the costs do add up to pay for implementing this name change. Be prepared to spread your savings around to pay small fees here and there. Finally, while officially changing your name does take work, you’ll be glad you’ve taken these steps toward a symbolizing you and your groom’s union that will last a lifetime.

Author: Allyson Siwajian

Photographs: Jamison Frady of Quiet Art Photography (first image), Allyson Siwajian (second image)

1 comment on “How to Change your Last Name: The Official Guide for the Busy Bride”

  1. Yyou could also have that when you change your last name to remember to contact all utility, phone, and any other services you may use with your current name.

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