12 Tips That Save Time & Money When Changing Your Last Name!

11 Jan


I believe Congratulations are in order if you are checking this post out =)

 Or if you are new & just visiting, Hi!!!

       The husband and I tied the knot on 5-10-14, but I am only just now getting around to changing my name! The process was a bit better than I eexpected because I got some helpful pointers from the seester & with her experienced insight, I discovered some additional time and money saving tips along the way. Once you have noted these helpful tips, go visit my sister’s blog (link below) for the nitty gritty instructions !


1) You can make an appointment at the social security office (in most places), but you need to call ahead  of time (no online scheduling) to do so. It feels great when you walk into the social security office with a minimum of 20 people waiting in line and you head straight to the front!!

2) You can fill out your social security form online for your legal name change (form SS-5) , than print and bring to your appointment

3) At some post offices (like mine), you can make an appointment to RENEW/ UPDATE your passport! Remember, once you change your legal name on your driver’s license you can’t travel with your passport that has your maiden name on it out of the country.

4) You can fill out the application form for your passport online or print the form (The form is called DS-82 & fill in with black ink only). NOTE: when filling out the form online, you CANNOT actually submit the form online)

5) If you are RENEWING/UPDATING a previous passport, you DO NOT HAVE TO PAY THE PASSPORT FEE FOR A NAME NAME CHANGE  IF you do so in the same year you were married (at least in Texas, different states may have different laws). However, some places charge your a processing fee which is not waived. (passport fee= $110 in savings!)

6) If you don’t want to bother with the passport office or pay the processing fees (I saved $25 here) & remember this only applies if you are renewing/updating passport, fill out the form (online &/or print see Tip #4) & MAIL IT IN YOURSELF (make sure to follow the instructions on the form very carefully or they government will cash your check and say SORRY-  you messed up your form)!!.
       For instance, you must write your full NEW name on your check and date of birth (I had never been asked to do that before), along with stapling an updated passport pic and check to the form.  You will also have to mail in your Marriage License or a CERTIFIED COPY (this is the case whether you mail it in yourself or go to the post office, ect).  I mailed a certified copy because it’s not super easy to go get another copy from Canada).
7) I was  told by my friendly County Tax motor vehicle division window attendant, that it is not imperative for you to change your name on your car title (in Texas)… Allegedly you can wait up until  the point when you sell the car and just sign a simple form at that point with a copy of your marriage certificate in hand  (however, this did come from somebody punching the time clock at a government office). So if you don’t have a lot of time, I guess you can put this on the bottom of the list or just not do it.
8) Don’t forget in addition to going down to the social security office and DMV to change your name, there are MANY other places you need to consider:  vehicle registration, school/university, IRS, voter registration, passport, bank notification, investment account (Roth IRA, ect), frequent flyer miles, credit cards, insurance (health, house, auto) and any national certification you hold that requires you to keep a current license (e.g. registered nurse, dietician, ect). With this being said, you can’t change any of the things listed above without changing you social security card and driver’s license first!
9) If you do have a profession such as nursing where you have to continually renew your license, you besta contact them Pronto! For example in my case, “The Texas Board of Nursing {Texas Administrative Code 217.7)states that all nurses/applicants for licensure shall notify the board in writing within ten days of a change of name and or address by submitting a legal document reflecting this name change and/or providing the new address with his or her license number. They technically could suspend your license if you don’t do so =  can’t work = no paycheck =  not cool
10)  You can take a quiz  to suggest what exactly you should change your last name to based on your personality (hyphen it, take his, keep both, ect) I didn’t go with exactly what my quiz results suggested, but they made some good points.
11) A creative way to take your husband’s last name and keep your own…  have two middle names, your original and then put your maiden name after that (I didn’t hyphenate them either, just two separate  middle names). I mean some people have two first names, seems reasonable that anybody can have two middle names, at least I do now =) So I’m officially Kelley B O U C H A R D, but my full name (which how often do you really even sign that) technically consist of four names. Oh and if you plan on doing this, the social security officer told me there are only 16 spaces on the form for your middle name, so if you have a long maiden and middle name you will have to think of something even more creative!
12) Once you got these quick tip, head over to my sister’s blog for some detailed instructions on the last name change at C.R.A.F.T
Other things I considered when deciding on my new legal married name …
-I wanted the exact same last name as any future kiddos!
-I have been a Smith for 20+ years and wasn’t ready to completely part with it
-In Montreal where I got married, the women keep their maiden name and don’t take their husband’s name at all (interesting eh, I think I’ll keep mine too!
 I was also somewhat nervous about completely dropping Smith because I have lots of stuff in just my maiden name (house, car, IRAs,  EVERYTHING) so I just felt if I completely peaced it out it could potentially cause me some issues (whether or not that really be the case, i’m don’t know)
Oh and I do have a quick question for anybody with an answer… If you bought a house by yourself prior to getting married and the mortgage is in your maiden name, does this really need to be changed to? If so, what is the easiest way?!?
I hope this helps and if you have any other tips or places I should be changing my name,please let me know! I would also be very interested to hear how and what you decided to change your married name to !
Kel =).
psst: If ya want to check out some photos from my Montreal Wedding, click this way! Oh & if you just got engaged, check out the BEST PLACES TO REGISTER  =)

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