black and white photo of couple leaving a seattle wedding ceremony

If you tied the knot in 2014, there are three key reasons to change to your new name before the New Year arrives.

It’s Now or Never — Over 40% of newlyweds change their names within three months of their wedding. Many allude to the fact that if they don’t switch to their new married name change right away, they’ll never get around to doing it later in life. It is true that the longer a bride waits to change her name, the more legal documents will accumulate and then need to be updated with her new name (ex: house or vehicle titles, retirement savings, joint bank accounts, etc).

Taxes – The dread of taxes is the antithesis of the joy of a wedding…so many people avoid the topic. However, if a couple is planning to file joint taxes under their married name the individual or individuals changing their names need to file their SS-5 form to attain their new moniker with Social Security prior to December 31st. It is also advisable to file the IRS 8822 to inform the IRS of your married name. The filing of both of these documents well in advance of filing your taxes prevents any confusion regarding your identity that could cause lengthy delays of your personal tax returns.

Passport Window — Many brides-to-be apply for a U.S. passport in anticipation of their honeymoon travel. If a new passport holder is changing her last name after marriage, there is a 12 month window in which the State Department will provide a new passport with the new married name for free. The DS-5504 form must be submitted within 12 months of the issuance date of the newlywed’s passport or she will have to file for a new passport via the DS-82 form and pay the $110 fee...which is zero fun.

Outside of these three name change motivators are many more mini-motivators ranging from the joy of new initial monogramming, to co-signing a mortgage to the name that shows on a business or medical degree! Whatever the inspiration or motivation, name change prior to January first is a good idea for the majority of brides married in 2014.

Photo credit: Benj Haisch