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Q&A: What financially-related steps do I need to take after my wedding?

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Bride and groom after wedding walking and taking photographs in field

Wedding season is approaching quickly. With the stress of planning a wedding, it is easy to overlook certain steps that affect your taxes and finances in general. We have compiled a list of steps to help with your taxes and other financial accounts.

Name and address changes AFTER WEDDING

If you plan to change your name after marriage, you will first have to take your marriage certificate to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Once you receive your new social security card, you will need to take it to the DMV for an updated license.

When it comes to your financial documents, remember that the name on your tax return must match what is on file at the SSA. If the name does not match, this could delay any tax refund. In addition, if your marriage includes a new address, you will need to inform the IRS. The IRS will require a Form 8822, Change of Address be completed. We also recommend notifying the U.S. Postal Service and setting up mail forwarding to ensure you continue to receive all important documents.

In addition to changing your name and address with the IRS and USPS, remember to change your name with your bank(s), credit card companies, past and present employer retirement plans, investment accounts/firms, insurers (medical, home, auto, etc.), financial advisors, mortgage holders, utility companies, etc. Most of these companies will require a copy of your new license and marriage certificate. When contacting your financial institutions, be sure to ask for a new card, checkbook, etc.

Update Estate Plans & Beneficiaries

With marriage often comes changes to estate plans and designated beneficiaries. Once you are married, be sure to update beneficiaries on any employer retirement plans, IRAs, or other investments. In addition, schedule a time to review your estate plan with your estate attorney. They can help you update your estate planning documents to accurately reflect your intentions.

Discuss your tax filing status

When filing your annual income tax returns, married couples have two filing status choices: married filing jointly, or married filing separately. In most (not all) instances, we find married filing jointly to be more advantageous, but recommend working with your CPA to discuss the most beneficial filing status for your situation. Also, as long as you are married as of December 31, the IRS will recognize you as married for the entire year for tax purposes.

Double-check tax withholding AFTER WEDDING

Once married, make sure you and your spouse both update your state and federal withholding. This is to help mitigate any unfortunate surprises if your marriage and combined income bumped you into a higher tax bracket. The IRS offers a Tax Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov to help complete a new Form W-4.

How we can help

While most, if not all, of these steps require your direct involvement, we are here to help. Your Wealth Management Advisor and your Tax & Financial Planning team are able to provide guidance regarding your situation, including filing status. Please reach out to us if you have any questions, and happy wedding planning!

Author: Alexis Houlihan, CFP® | Wealth Management Advisor
Written: June 15, 2022