The lazy girl’s guide to changing your name after marriage

The lazy girl's guide to changing your name after marriage

The day after our wedding I promptly updated all of my social media handles (let’s be honest, as a PR girl I had them picked out months, okay years, in advance), but I dragged my feet a little on the whole real-life name change. Wouldn’t it be great if when you updated your name on Facebook, it also changed legally? I’m sure we’ll get there someday, but until then, we’re looking at a lot of paperwork.

Once upon a time, I planned on filling out all of that paperwork pre-wedding so I could file it promptly after the honeymoon. That definitely did not happen. And I didn’t even start on it until one month after our wedding. It’s not that I didn’t want to become a Ryan, it’s just that changing your name is so inconvenient and complicated, and after our wedding I was so exhausted that I didn’t feel like dealing with it. You’d think that in this day and age it would be easy for women to change their surnames post-marriage, but alas, we are still in the dark ages. That is, except for a little service that became my new best friend:

Put simply, gathers all of the name-change paperwork you could possibly need, allows you to fill it out electronically, print it out, and provides instructions on how to file the paperwork. Call me lazy, but this was a godsend. Yes, I could have Googled each individual name-change process and saved my $30, but to me, time is money. I’m always willing to pay a little extra for convenience. Plus, I purchased my account on Groupon for half off. $15 to save me stress & headaches? Oh yeah, that’s money well spent.

Here’s a list of the government paperwork includes:

  • Social security card form
  • IRS form
  • Passport form
  • USPS form (for change of name & address)
  • Driver’s license form
  • Voter registration form

I kid you not, filling out all of these forms with this service took me less than 30 minutes. I felt very accomplished. However, the part that really takes time is filing this paperwork. The social security form needs to be filed first. I believe this can be mailed in, but since my office was within walking distance, I decided to file mine in person to speed up the process. You must file this form first, and wait 48 hours before filing any others. I was able to mail the IRS, USPS and voter registration forms, but the driver’s license form needs to be filed in person. The last form I filed was my passport because you need to mail in everything (including your original marriage certificate – not a copy) and it took about 6 weeks to get everything back.

Learn from my mistake: If you don’t have multiple copies of your marriage certificate, (in my town each extra copy costs $10 – no thanks!) make photocopies of it before sending it in with your passport. Because I didn’t do that, I wasn’t able to change my bank account information until it came back.

Once all of your government forms are filed, you can move on to the following, which provides printable letters for:

  • Bank accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Medical (physicians offices)
  • Insurance (health and auto)
  • Professional license
  • Investments

The great thing about this service is that some of these things I wouldn’t have even remembered to change. I didn’t use all of these letters, but if nothing else, it served as a great checklist. The first thing I did here was pull all of the cards out of my wallet and call to see what their policies were for changing your surname on an account. I was able to change my health insurance and store credit cards (ex. Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret) over the phone, but I had to go into a bank branch with my marriage license and two forms of ID to update my information on checking accounts and major credit cards.

My advice: Call all of these places before sending out the letters and copies of your marriage certificate, because their policy may call for an in-person visit or require you to fill out a form specific to that institution. There’s no sense in wasting those stamps.

I definitely think the name-change process would have been much more confusing without the help of Anything that can streamline a complicated process and save me time & energy gets a big thumbs up.

Lazy girls, rejoice! This service pretty much allows you to change your name from your couch, in your PJs, while watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. It’s a win-win-win.


By caitlinrebecca

PR girl fueled by pop-punk, witty words and a hot cup of tea.

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