Tax Tips (and other stuff)

Kelly Bullis: The financial side of getting married

Kelly Bullis

Kelly Bullis

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Of course, marriage is all about love. Who cares about money matters when you’re in love? Besides, for the father of the bride, just paying for the wedding is enough “financial” matters to worry about!

The sooner a newly-married couple takes care of some important financial issues the better.

If you change your name, you need to notify the Social Security Administration of your new legal name. You will need to provide a photo identification, birth certificate and marriage certificate. Go to to download the Form SS-5 to fill out in advance. Then call your local Social Security office to make an appointment to go in to give them your filled out form SS-5, and the other documentation. It should take about 10 to 14 business days to get your new Social Security card.

Getting your name changed with the Social Security Administration is the first step.

Now you are ready to go to the next step, which is getting a new driver’s license. Take the new Social Security card, along with your current “old” driver’s license to your local DMV to get a new license with your new last name. You should consider taking along your birth certificate and marriage license just in case the folks at the DMV are in a testy mood and showing them such additional documentation may help settle them down.

While you’re at it, go to your bank and get your name changed on your account, perhaps add your spouse to that account, or open a new joint bank account? Having a driver’s license with your new name is important at the bank.

Now let’s talk about estate planning issues. Having a power of attorney (financial and medical) for each of you is VERY important. Having wills is also important. Naming the other spouse as beneficiary on all your accounts (life insurance, annuities, retirement accounts, etc.) is really a good idea while you’re at it.

Adding your spouse to your employer-provided health insurance can be done as soon as you are married. You don’t have to wait until an open-enrollment period. If both of you have health insurance coverage, compare each plan and perhaps choose the one that is best for both of you.

Within 10 days of getting married, you should provide your employers with updated form W-4s indicating you are married so they change the tax withholding ASAP. Married rates are lower than single, so this should increase each paycheck net take-home pay.

Keeping financial matters in line can be a way to make a marriage run smoother and hey! It can roll back into that love thing. Know what I mean?

Have you heard? Prov 15:17 says, “Better is a dinner of herbs, where love is, than a fattened calf with hatred.”

Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 775-882-4459. On the web at Also on Facebook.


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