What Is the Cost of Changing Your Name?

While you may change your name at any point in life, many people encounter name-change hurdles around a wedding. The cost of changing your name isn’t necessarily a consideration until you’re knee-deep in paperwork, so make some room in your wedding plans (and budget). Here’s a to-do list for an easy transition — and what you need to set aside to complete the process.

Get Proper Documentation

Step one is to obtain proof of your legal name change, whether it’s a marriage document or court order. According to CostHelper, copies of a legal marriage certificate cost between $3 and $15. You’ll want to order several, as many agencies require them.

For a wife taking her partner’s last name or adding it to her own (with or without a hyphen), the name change can take place via the marriage license. For a husband wanting to take his partner’s name — or a couple choosing a new name — it’s more complicated. Most states require a legal name change, involving additional paperwork and court filing fees that can cost more than $200.

Cost: $3 to 15 per marriage certificate copy, up to $200 for court paperwork

Update Your Social Security Information

By updating your Social Security information, you’ll have an easier time updating your name on other documents. The process is straightforward: Mail or take your application and documents to your local Social Security office. You’ll need proof of your legal name change. That’s where copies of your marriage certificate come in handy.

The Internal Revenue Service is automatically notified when you update your Social Security information, ensuring there are no delays when you file your taxes. This also means your wages will post correctly to your Social Security record.

Cost: Free

Change Your License

Updated Social Security card in hand, head to your local Department of Motor Vehicles with another copy of your marriage certificate or proof of name change to get a new license.

While you’re there, update your name on your car title and vehicle registration, as well as your voter registration. While you can update your voting information for free, having an updated car title and vehicle registration costs money. For example, Washington state charges $31 for an updated title and $10 for an updated registration. If you have a loan or lien on your vehicle, you’ll need to update your name with the lien holder, too.

Cost: Around $20, but varies

Renew Your Passport

If you request your name change less than one year after your passport was issued, there is no fee to update it. Otherwise, you need to pay the adult renewal applicant fee.

For those changing a name because of a marriage and traveling abroad for a honeymoon, you may want to wait to change your name.

Cost: $110 for an updated passport book

Request New Credit and Debit Cards

Remember to change your name on your checking and savings accounts. You’ll also need to update your retirement accounts, including IRAs, mutual funds or employer-backed 401(k)s. This way, your creditors will notify credit bureaus, ensuring that your credit history under your old name isn’t erased or changed. It’s also a great time to change your beneficiaries and order new checks.

If you’re combining bank accounts, consider whether you’ll add your spouse as an authorized user to help them build credit or apply for a new card together so you both have equal responsibility.

Cost: Generally free for updated cards, cost of checks varies

Other places you’ll want to update your name are a bit easier, including social media accounts, the post office, your landlord and utility companies. Tell your employer so they can update your paychecks and insurance. You may face some confusion for the first few months as you transition from one name to another, but completing the process sooner rather than later will ensure smoother sailing down the road.

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