Taxes are an important consideration when you get married. But there are other financial issues and administrative tasks to consider. Here's a checklist:
Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA). If getting married involves a name change for either spouse, the SSA needs to know. Updating your name with the SSA helps ensure that credit ratings and Social Security benefits follow you into your marriage.
Notify your employer (and others). If you change your name, alert your company's human resources office. They'll put your new name on your payroll check and benefits files. You may also need to supply a new bank account number if your check is direct deposited.
Other records to update include:
- Driver's license at your state department of motor vehicles (DMV),
- Vehicle registration at the DMV,
- Passport at www.travel.state.gov,
- State and local tax records,
- Voter registration at your state or local election office (or DMV),
- Property titles for homes and vehicles with your lender or, if paid off, at your county clerk or DMV,
- Utility bills with the phone, cell phone, electricity, gas, water and garbage companies, and
- Medical, dental and pharmacy records.
Coordinate workplace benefits. Consider updating your beneficiaries for employer-provided life insurance, disability insurance and retirement plan accounts. Are both spouses covered by health insurance? Getting married counts as a qualifying event that allows you to make changes to your employee benefits even if it's not open-enrollment season. If you both work and one spouse has better health insurance options than the other, you may want to add the spouse as a dependent on the more generous plan. Likewise, if one spouse doesn't have coverage, consider adding him or her to the other spouse's plan.
Review bank and financial accounts. Discuss whether you'll continue to have separate checking accounts and credit cards — or whether joint accounts make more sense. If you open a new account, you'll need to update any automatic bill payments and direct deposits for the account number.
Consider changing titles on key assets. If one spouse already owns a home, for example, you might want to refinance it or change the title to include both spouses. But before you do, talk it over with your professional advisors. There are legal implications for who owns assets, including private business interests, real estate and vehicles.
Update insurance accounts. You may decide to change your life insurance beneficiaries after marriage. Also ask your insurance agent about possible discounts for married couples who combine auto and renter's insurance policies, as well as scheduled property riders that can be added to your renter's or homeowner's insurance policy for engagement and wedding rings.
Review deeds, wills and power of attorney documents. An attorney or estate advisor can discuss the full array of estate planning tools, such as various trusts, that might be relevant now that you're married.
This list of to-dos may look lengthy, but don't worry: These tasks are much less work than planning a wedding! Plus, the time spent taking care of these issues now may eliminate mix-ups and extra work later on.