Post-wedding agenda?
June 6, 2012 11:28 AM   Subscribe

What legal and financial things do we need to take care of after we are married?

My fiance and I are getting married next week. We are also expecting a baby in four months. There are a number of things we know we need to take care of legally and financially after we are married, but I am wondering what we are forgetting. So far we plan to make each other our beneficiaries for life insurance and retirement accounts, get on the same health insurance (his), open joint bank accounts, and make wills. I plan to change my name. He owns our house but we are putting it on the market next week and (hopefully) moving soon, and the new house will be in both our names, so that's not an issue. I realize that all of these things are optional, but I am looking for the "standard" post-marriage chores along these lines. Are we forgetting anything important? Additional details: This is in the US. I'm not looking for suggestions about prenuptial agreements, just post-nuptial stuff.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Check with your car insurance and renter's/homeowner's insurance too, you may get a better rate.

Also, in addition to the will, you will want to have health care power of attorney documents filed.
posted by matildaben at 11:35 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

if someone changing their name, you need a social security change as well, drivers license, credit cards, bank accounts, also ask your lender or RE agent about doing all this in a short time and how underwriting is going to work. I had problems with underwriting with my wifes name change and we were married a year before.

Also, why not get the house in your name and get all the first time buyer benefits? Once your married and his name is on the house, you lose that option.
posted by couchdive at 11:36 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Changing name will also need to be done on social security card, I found it easier to start there, then move on to drivers license and passport.

Get copies of the marriage certificate, certified, put in a safetydeposit box or or safe place.

Have copies of all that insurance information as well in an out of the house place (safety deposit box).

Same with passports and copies, and have a list of all documents and a copy of all documents handy.

Car insurance, car title, ensure you are on each other's Okay To Speak do list at the doctor's offices.

If you're intermingling credit, get cards for the other on credit card accounts.

Update your emergency contact information with work. And you'll need the baby's birth certificate to get him on the insurance.

Ensure insurance covers mortgage costs of future house, should one of you be left widow/ed and having to care for the child(ren) alone.

Update your professional profiles and licensures with your new name. Some women find it convenient to take their maiden name as their middle name to help keep some professional continuity.

posted by tilde at 11:36 AM on June 6, 2012

Here's one I totally skipped over and it's been a PITA ever since. If you plan on changing your name, go to the Social Security Administration, with your marriage license and take care of it officially.

I hyphenated my last name, and never changed it officially. So I have my Passport, SSA in my maiden name, my driver's license in my hyphenated name, my credit card in all permutations of my names (some in my maiden name, some hyphenated.)

Travelling together is a chore when your names don't match.

So first, SSA, next credit cards, bank accounts, utility accounts, loans, car notes, lease agreements and any other legal document you can think of.

Oh, and it's going to be joy when you change your name at work and your email changes.

Any way you look at it, it's a second job until it's all done.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:38 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

When you have your baby, you will need to significantly increase your life insurance, so it may just be easier to do it now. You will also need to make substantial changes to your wills, including custody of your child(ren) in case both of you die. I know you asked about marriage but I just wanted to highlight the fact that some of these issues will need to be re-visited in a few months. Congratulations on both counts!
posted by DarlingBri at 11:46 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, set up a tickle file for recurring crap. Car renewals, car maintenance, yearly life insurance payments, physicals, furnace check up; plot out where they'll be every year and who is to take care of them.
posted by tilde at 11:52 AM on June 6, 2012

Make sure you have copies of your marriage certificate on file at home. I have needed to provide copies (for name change evidence) to everyone from my professional association to my frequent flyer provider. It's an unbelievable PITA.

Don't forget to get a new passport issued even if you don't have trips planned right now. You don't want to have to scramble if you get an opportunity for a last minute vacation.

Good luck, congratulations!
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:06 PM on June 6, 2012

If your health plan has a Flex Spending Account, look into whether the marriage is a qualifying event to enlist if you aren't already. You can bump the amounts in anticipation of the birth to pay from some medical expenses with pre-tax money. The birth of the child is also a qualifying event but in this way the extra cost will be spread more evenly over the remaining 6 months of the calendar year.
posted by dgran at 12:07 PM on June 6, 2012

If you change your name, re-register to vote. I just got dinged for that (wasn't registered to vote in the local election yesterday).
posted by erst at 2:08 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

in addition to homeowners/auto insurance, look into disability insurance coverage, and if your engagement ring is valuable get extra (and specific) coverage for it
posted by hms71 at 9:14 PM on June 6, 2012

It's not too early to increase your life insurance.
posted by jefftang at 1:24 PM on June 13, 2012

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