A wedding is undoubtedly romantic. But with the marriage come a few practical matters. These are the “real world” issues that must be addressed when joining lives with another person. From changing your name and combining bank accounts to filing your taxes, you will need to follow certain steps in order to ensure a harmonious union.
Changing Your Name
If you decide to take your fiancé’s last name, you will need to wait until after your wedding to officially change your name, as a marriage certificate is required. To change your name on identification documents, such as your Social Security card and driver’ license, you may need to fill out any applicable forms and turn them in with a copy of your marriage certificate and another form of I.D.
Please note that, in some states, the Department of Motor Vehicles will require you to wait until your Social Security information is updated before issuing a new license.
Speaking with your workplace’s HR department is also important. They can help you change your name in any directories and update your paycheck to reflect your new name.
You should also remember to update the following when changing your last name after marriage:
– Voter registration
– Investment accounts (401k, IRA)
– Mortgage or rental information
– Utility information
– Work or personal email address
– Business cards
– Banking information (checking accounts, saving accounts, CDs)
– Magazine subscriptions
– Social media accounts (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
Combining Bank Accounts
Combining bank accounts after marriage is a much more straightforward process than changing your name; you just go to the bank and tell them you want to set up a joint account. In some cases, you may choose for one person to keep their existing bank account and add the other person.
If you want to change your name on your credit card, you may be required to provide the company with your marriage certificate. To add your spouse as a co-holder of the account, ask your credit card company for the necessary forms and return them promptly after they are complete.
After your marriage, you will have the option of filing your taxes as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” If you file jointly, you will combine your income, deductions, exemptions, and credits with your spouse’s. If you decide to file separately, you only report your own income, deductions, etc. Please note that if you decide to file separately, you must choose the same deductions as your spouse—one of you can’t itemize if the other takes the standard deduction.
When filing your taxes after marriage, speaking with an experienced accountant may be worthwhile. An expert can explain the marriage bonus and marriage penalty to help you make an informed decision about how to file.
Updating Insurance Information
One of the perks of marriage is getting a lower rate on your insurance premiums. In fact, depending on your particular situation, combining your auto insurance coverage may save you money, as insurers consider married couples to be a low-risk group. To do this, the insurer may require a marriage certificate as proof that you are now husband and wife.
If either you or your spouse has health insurance coverage through work, you may have the option to add your spouse to this policy. This is typically the cheapest option. If, however, you have to obtain insurance through a health insurance provider, you may get a lower rate than if you had an insurance policy on your own.
After your marriage, you should also update your life insurance policy. Again, you may be able to obtain life insurance through work or you made need to set up a policy with a company that specializes in this type of insurance.
If you and your spouse are buying a house after your wedding, you can both obtain a homeowner’s policy. However, if one of you moves into the other’s house, you will have to add the spouse to the existing policy. If you are the one moving and you have insurance at your old home or apartment, be sure to cancel that policy.
Joining your lives after marriage may take a little work, but it is worth it in the end! By writing out a checklist ahead of time, you will know exactly what you need to do to begin your new lives together.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.