After you get married, there are a few legal details you’ll want to address. If you choose to change your name, you’ll need to notify quite a few organizations and request new versions of government documents. Even if you don’t change your name, you’ll still want to consider updating legal documents such as your Last Will and Testament and Living Will.
Ask a lawyer any question and find other legal resources for newlyweds.
1. Request your marriage certificate
Your marriage certificate is the official document that proves you are married. It can be used to help you change your name and more. To obtain the certificate, your officiant will send the completed license to the appropriate local clerk’s office. The license will be signed by the couple, the officiant and the required witnesses. You will usually receive your certificate within a few weeks.
2. Change your name
You don’t have to change your name, but you have the option to when you get married. You’ll want to put your new name on your marriage license to begin the process of changing your name. In most situations, if you simply want to take your spouse’s last name, you can just start using that name and get your documentation updated at the DMV and Social Security office. If you want to change your last name to something other than your spouse’s last name, you will need to request a change order from the courts. The process is not difficult, but it may take a bit longer. You’ll need to request new versions of certain documents with your new name such as your Social Security card, driver’s license, and passport.
To save time, use our Name Change Notification Letter to notify others of your name change.
3. Update your marital status
After you get married, you’ll need to notify a few interested organizations. Even if you do not change your name, you may still need to let others know that you are now married. You may want to notify your HR department, bank, landlord, insurance companies, and more.
4. Write a Postnuptial Agreement
If you do not have a Prenuptial Agreement, you may consider a Postnuptial Agreement. This is the same as a prenup. The only difference is that it is signed after the wedding ceremony rather than before. A Prenup helps you define how assets and debts will be distributed. It can also be used to protect assets owned before the marriage that may want to be preserved for someone other than the spouse, such as a family member’s inheritance or business assets.
5. Make a Will
After you get married you’ll want to make a Will or update an existing one. Even though you are married, every couple needs to write two Wills—one for each spouse. Wills are used to appoint an executor and to dictate how your assets will be distributed upon your death. If you have minor children, Wills can also be used to assign guardians.
6. Write a Living Will
A Living Will outlines how you want to be cared for if you become incapacitated and/or near death. By default, most states allow the spouse to make near-end-of-life and end-of-life health care decisions. But perhaps you are both injured at the same time or you’d rather have someone else manage your health care. Like a Last Will and Testament, you’ll need two Living Wills—one for each spouse.
7. Review your insurance policies
You may save money by switching to one health insurance policy or by combining other policies such as auto or renter’s insurance. You may also look into whether you can save money by combining other memberships such as roadside assistance, streaming services, club memberships, and more.
Other topics to consider after you get married include deciding how you will manage your finances, budgets, and taxes. You may even consider viewing one another’s credit reports to help you figure out how best to manage your debt and credit scores.