October 20, 2017. By Courtney Summa:
After months of planning each detail of your wedding, your big day finally came! It was beautiful and magical and went by far too fast. With the moment behind you, what tasks now require the commitment of your spare time? The pre-wedding checklist was easy to find, but what should be on your ‘to-do’ list now that the event is over?
Some items will be at the top of your to-do list such as writing thank you notes and ordering your wedding album. Deciding whether to sell, donate, or otherwise dispose of your unwanted wedding décor could also be on your list. Such tasks are on the forefront of your mind because you see them in front of you, however there are many other items to complete which may not be as apparent.
If you choose to change your name: Your government records do not reflect your name change even after your marriage license has been filed. Therefore, if you plan on changing your name, don’t forget to legally update all necessary government and professional records. To do so, you should first apply for a new social security card. Once your social security number has been updated to associate with your new name, you can then begin updating other important items such as your driver’s license and bank account titling. Updating bank accounts is especially important since the IRS will not deposit a tax refund in a bank account that is not in the taxpayer’s name. Additionally, you will not be able to deposit checks in which the payee name does not match that which is on the account. You will also need to notify your credit card companies, mortgage provider, student loan provider, et cetera, of your name change.
Notify your employer: W-4 and personal information at work will also need to be addressed. With your marriage status having changed, you will want to double check that each paycheck has the right amount of taxes being withheld on your W-4. You may also want to double check the beneficiaries of your retirement plans should you choose to designate your spouse.
Notify your accountant: When the time comes for tax season, seek the help of your tax professional to determine which is the best filing status for you and your spouse, whether it be Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately. Another question for your tax professional is which is the right tax form to use; you may need to file a different version of Form 1040 based on combined income and possibly more credits and deductions.
Review your insurance coverage and estate plan: Take a close look at your health and life insurance policies. If you go through the Federal marketplace for your health insurance you will need to notify them that you are married. Or perhaps you or your spouse will want to go on the other’s health insurance plan. You should determine the best course of action regards to health insurance sooner rather than later. While you are discussing health, it would be a good time to involve your estate attorney and update wills, healthcare proxies, and any other estate planning items. It’s never a fun topic of discussion to have with anyone, never mind the person you just committed the rest of your life to, but unfortunately the unexpected happens. You will be able to relax more knowing that if the unexpected does happen your spouse will have everything he/she will need to navigate through the difficult time.
Lastly, review your investment holdings with your wealth manager to ensure that your accounts are titled properly. Oftentimes this final obstacle is the missing step in estate planning.
With all of these tasks complete, you can begin the new chapter of marital bliss.