The Planner's Perspective: Name Change Checklist

Paul Morrone |

By Paul Morrone, CFP ®, CPA, MSA

Legally changing your name is an arduous process, more so now that we are more connected in the digital age.

Below is a checklist that is meant to make your life easier as you go through the process. Remember, this doesn’t happen overnight and can take weeks before you feel like you are in a good spot!

Before you even begin, you will need a copy of the legal document that is prompting the name change (marriage certificate, divorce decree, court document, etc.) to provide to the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles and to update your passport. You will also need your existing Social Security card, driver’s license and passport to complete the process.

Once that has been completed, other institutions may require one or all of the following:  your new SS card, driver’s license or passport to verify your new identity.

First things first:

  • Social Security Administration – to be done first
  • Driver’s license – followed by this
  • Passport – then this
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Register name change with your employer (ID badges, systems access, email address, etc)

Then on to these:

  • Licensing boards for professional licenses/designations
  • Update employee benefits (health, life, disability insurance)
  • Private insurance and annuity contracts (auto, home, liability, life, LTC, DI, etc)
  • Retirement/Investment account registrations
  • Title to real estate and personal property
  • Cell phone providers
  • Outstanding loans/mortgages
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Estate planning documents

For Frequent Travelers, these are essential as well:

  • TSA Pre-check, Global Entry, NEXIS, SENTRY
  • Frequent Flyer programs (if you have Pre-check or Global Entry do that first)
  • Hotel loyalty programs
  • Rental Car loyalty accounts

Other commonly overlooked items:

  • Pension administrator
  • Union memberships
  • Regulatory agencies
  • Association/Club memberships
  • Utility companies
  • Voter registration
  • School/Educational institutions
  • Gym memberships
  • Professional/Personal subscriptions
  • Service/Maintenance contracts
  • Healthcare and dental providers
  • Online accounts (yes, there are likely a lot of these!)

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.