How to Change Your Name
Whether you’re newly wed or newly single, if you opt to change your name, your new life will start with a big old mess of paperwork. After getting certified copies of your marriage certificate or divorce decree, you’ll need to get a new Social Security card, driver’s license (costs vary by state), passport ($110, if your current one is more than a year old), voter registration card and, if necessary, professional license.
You’ll also have to alert your employer’s benefits office and any other professional contacts, such as clients and vendors. And you’ll want to notify the U.S. Postal Service, your banks, lenders, brokerages, utility providers, insurers, doctors’ offices, family, friends and, of course, Facebook.
At MissNowMrs.com and GetYourNameBack.com, name-change packages provide you with all of the necessary government forms and notification letters. You just answer some questions once, and all of the documents auto-fill with your information. The services (each costs $30) also include detailed instructions for filing each form.
After a divorce, once you’ve registered your new identity, be sure your finances are no longer wed. Ginita Wall, a financial planner and co-founder of Wife.org, recommends closing joint accounts and opening individual ones under your new name -- an especially important move for any shared credit cards.
This article first appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. For more help with your personal finances and investments, please subscribe to the magazine. It might be the best investment you ever make.