There’s no legal obligation for anyone to change their name after marriage. You can keep your last name, take your spouse’s last name, hyphenate the two last names, or create a new name. However, if you choose to there are some requirements to make your name change legal.
Some states allow people getting married to indicate their new last name when filling out the marriage license. When you get your marriage certificate, the new name will be displayed.
If your state doesn’t have a space on the marriage license to indicate your new name, you may have to make the change by petitioning the court.1 If you’re both changing your names to something new, it may also require petitioning the court—check your local laws to find out the procedure.2
Contact your banks, brokerages, credit unions, and credit card issuers to change your name. They will likely have a form to fill out and will ask for documentation proving your identification and the name change.
If you have a workplace savings plan, like a 401(k) or 403(b), you’ll need to change the name on that account too. Your plan provider will likely have their own form and require documentation, but your employer may also need to be involved. If you have an equity award or stock purchase plan, check the requirements for changing your name on the account. Consider checking with your plan administrator to find out what’s needed.