When it comes to weddings, October is the new June. In 2022, October was the most popular month to get married, and 43% of weddings took place between September and November, according to a survey from TheKnot.com.
No matter when you get married, you’ll have to do a lot of paperwork. Colie Christiansen founded NewlyNamed, which provides a kit designed to streamline the process, after she had to spend hours online and take a day off from work to locate and file the documents she needed to update after her wedding.
Here are some of the most important documents you should change after you tie the knot.
Social Security card. If you change your name after you get married, make sure you notify the Social Security Administration of your new legal name. To update the name on your Social Security record, you’ll need to provide your photo identification, birth certificate and marriage certificate.
Once you’ve gathered those documents, download and fill out Form SS-5. Bring all the documents to your local Social Security office (find it at www.ssa.gov/locator). You should get your new Social Security card in 10 to 14 business days.
Take this step before you file your first tax return as a married couple. If the name on your tax return doesn’t match the name on file with Social Security, the IRS may delay processing your return, which will also delay any refund you’re eligible to receive.
Driver’s license and bank accounts. Once you have your new Social Security card, bring it and your current driver’s license to your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV) to get a new license with your correct name. You can use this, along with your new Social Security card, to update the name on your bank accounts.
Wills and trusts. After you’re married, you’ll probably want to update your will or trust to name your spouse as your beneficiary, says Flavio Landivar, senior financial adviser at Evensky & Katz/Foldes Wealth Management. You may want to contact an estate attorney to discuss how your marriage status will affect your estate plan.
Insurance. Marriage is considered a “qualifying life event,” which means you should be able to add your spouse to your employer-provided health insurance plan without waiting for an open-enrollment period. (Most plans allow you to add a spouse, but check whether doing so triggers a costly surcharge.) If both you and your spouse have company-provided health insurance, review each plan to determine whether it makes sense to use just one plan instead of two.
If you have a life insurance policy, you’ll likely want to make your spouse the beneficiary. Review any policies you and your spouse have to determine whether you want to keep them, Landivar says. “It may make sense to pick one policy for the both of you that has the best premiums and benefits,” he says.
Tax forms. Within 10 days of getting married, you should provide your employer with a new Form W-4, which determines how much income tax will be withheld from your wages. You’re not required to change your withholding after marriage, but your combined income could affect the amount you should have withheld to avoid underpaying (or overpaying) your taxes. A certified public accountant or enrolled agent can help you hammer out the details, or use the IRS withholding estimator.
Note: This item first appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, a monthly, trustworthy source of advice and guidance. Subscribe to help you make more money and keep more of the money you make here.
Ella Vincent is a personal finance writer who has written about credit, retirement, and employment issues. She has previously written for Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance. She enjoys going to concerts in her native Chicago and watching basketball.
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