Adulting 102: A Millennial’s Guide to Marriage

Wedding season has officially begun!  You’ve planned the wedding, the reception and the honeymoon, but have you planned for all the legal and financial changes once you get married?  Below is a guide for things you may need to do depending on your situation.

Name Change

If you are changing your name, it isn’t just as simple as writing it differently as you sign paperwork.  In order to officially change your name  Form SS-5 will need to be filed to notify the Social Security Administration of the name change.  You will receive a new Social Security card with your new name.  Also alert your employer of your name change.  You will likely need to change your name on credit cards, banking accounts (checks), driver’s license, and other bills.

Tax Withholding

Tax return filing status (single, married filing joint, married filing separate, head of household) is determined by what your status is on December 31st of any year in question.  When you get married the tax rate brackets are different than if you were single.  You should file a new Form W-4 with your employer updating your status and exemptions depending on your situation.

Moving

If you are changing your residence, notify the US Postal Service of your change of address.  You can have your mail forwarded for a period of time long enough for you to change your address with all of your mail correspondence.  You can notify the IRS of your address change by filing Form 8822.

Insurance

If you have been purchasing health insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace you will want to make sure you report that you are now married.  This is very important as any advance premium tax credits you were receiving could cease with a status change.  You don’t want to end up owing a large tax bill to the IRS come April.

Since marriage is considered a life event where changes in coverage are allowed, it may be worth looking into being covered under your spouse’s plan.  Depending on what type of insurance their employer has it may be financially beneficial to be on their plan instead of your own plan either through the Marketplace or your own employer.

Beneficiaries

Have you been using your parents or someone else to be the designated beneficiary of your 401(K) and life insurance accounts?  It is now time to think about changing those beneficiaries to your spouse. It is not required to have your spouse as the beneficiary, but if you would want them to receive any benefits if something were to happen, they need to be listed as beneficiary.  You can always designate your parents or other relatives as secondary beneficiaries.

Wills

If you don’t have a will before you get married then you definitely need to have one after the blessed event.  You will want to make sure that you at least designate a medical power of attorney.  A medical power of attorney will be the person that would make medical decisions for you when you would be unable to do so.  If you want your property to go specifically to someone besides your new spouse you would want to specify that as well in your will.

Congratulations on getting married!  The challenges above will likely be only the start of some of the differences that you will experience in this new chapter.  If you need financial or tax advice as you make your journey with a new spouse please contact an Anders advisor.

More Resources
Our Newly Married Couples Checklist has a step-by-step guide to help get you on track. Planning for your first child? Check out the New Dependent Checklist.