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Recently married? Here's how to change your name in the state of Michigan

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Posted at 9:27 AM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 10:20:05-05

(WXYZ) — Ah, newly-wed bliss. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Congratulations on your recent nuptials, but if you’ve decided to change your name, get ready for some work.

The process of changing your name legally varies state by state. I recently went through the process, and wished someone would have sent me a guide. So, I've compiled a neat and comprehensive "how-to" on changing your name in Michigan. Let me know if I missed any helpful tips by commenting below!

First, if you have travel plans in the next two months, I'd hold off on the name change until you return from that honeymoon.

1. Before you start, gather the following items and stick them in a folder: Birth certificate, driver’s license, passport (if you have one), and a certified copy of your marriage license.

A certified copy of your marriage license will have a county stamp on it. A regular copy will not work. You may have to order additional copies from the county. Their websites will have instructions on how to order a certified copy. It will cost you around $15-$20.

2. Print out the following form, and fill it out. It’s needed by the US Social Security Administration: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf

3. Take the document with your folder of items to the Social Security Office. You can find a local office here. You should go to the SSA before your driver’s license or ID expires. SSA has to have a VALID photo ID document to make any changes.

If the license or ID is already expired, use another photo ID that is valid or renew the license or ID first in the current name, wait to receive it and then proceed.

Social Security office hours can range, but you may need to take a day off or get out of work early to handle this step. Offices do not have weekend hours and do not seem to stay open after 4:00 p.m. Some weekdays, they may close as early as noon.

4. Once you turn in your name change forms, get a receipt from the SSA office.

5. Take the receipt with the folder of materials to your local Michigan Secretary of State office. The SOS recommends waiting at least 24 hours after visiting the SSA office to make sure the name change is properly updated in their verification system.

From the SOS's office: A fee will be charged to correct your name and a new photograph will be taken. If your driver's license or state ID card is due to expire within a few months, you may choose to renew it early.

Save yourself time, and get in line at SOS by phone or texting (I used this service, it's AWESOME and will save you time). Details here.

6. Go to your bank, bring materials, and notify the teller that you want to change the name on your accounts. While you’re there, order new cards. If you’re keeping separate accounts, consider naming your spouse as a beneficiary.

7. Once your new cards arrive, activate them and call creditors that same day. Basically, call anyone you possibly have credit cards connected to -- your cable bill, the gym, subscription-anything.

8. Make copies of your certified marriage license. You’ll likely need it to notify your employer of your name change. If you want to keep your maiden name professionally, but have tax information updated through your employer, be sure to make that clear.

9. Apply for a new passport. From U.S. Passports & International Travel: Submit Form DS-5504 by mail with your current passport, your original or certified name change document (no photocopies or notarized copies), and a color passport photo. Details here. The passport office will return your certified marriage license and old passport.

10. Call your insurance company to notify them of your name change. They will have to send you new cards. Also call your various medical offices to inform them so they can update you in their system.

11. Airline frequent flyer programs can be one of the final roadblocks on your name change quest. For example, Delta's SkyMiles name change process is very specific and cannot be done over the phone. You'll need to fax or email everything to the airline.

12. Pop open a bottle of wine, and have a glass or two, because you deserve it!