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Making the marriage transition: Resources and tools you may need

July 09, 2014

It's official! You found the love of your life, got married, and are now ready to live happily ever after. While you were busy planning your nuptials, completing the paperwork involved with creating joint accounts, name changes, and address changes was likely last on your list.

Here's a list of documents and tools to help ease the process around combining your finances.

Information you may need along the way

  • Contribution limits. Your combined modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) determines the maximum amount the IRS allows you to deduct of your contributions to tax-advantaged accounts. IRS.gov has more detailed information on this topic.
  • Prenuptial agreement. This agreement is a contract made prior to marriage that provides for the division of property and/or spousal support in the event of divorce. It may not sound romantic, but if you enter into marriage with significant assets, you may want to consider a prenup to protect yourself if the relationship doesn't last. The agreement, while typically entered into prior to the marriage, can also be struck once you're officially a couple.

Vanguard resources

  • Changing your name. Use this form to authenticate any name differences on your Vanguard accounts, in addition to physical securities you present for deposit.
  • Changing ownership. These forms will help if you need to add someone to your individual account or remove yourself from a joint account.
  • Updating bank information. Linking a bank account to your Vanguard account is the easiest and fastest way to move money. Once you've registered, you can update or make changes to your account. A notary's signature maybe required.
  • Setting up agent authorization. This form, which provides some of the capabilities of a power of attorney, allows you to authorize an individual to perform transactions on your Vanguard account. You can select from two agent authorization options. A limited agent can move money between accounts (including a listed bank account in your name), check account balances, and view account history. A full agent has all the limited agent's abilities but can also change your address and beneficiaries, and write checks on bond funds or a money market account. A notary's signature is required.
  • Changing your address. You can change the mailing address on your Vanguard accounts online or by printing out the filled form and mailing it to us.
  • Changing a beneficiary. If your spouse is listed as the beneficiary on your accounts and you need to make a change, we can help. The form you'll need to complete will depend on the type of account.
  • Adding voice verification. For additional account security and to simplify the transaction process, this service allows you to verify your identity by speaking a specified phrase into the phone.

Helpful tips

  • As a married couple, you may qualify for discounts and other savings that come with combining your life and auto insurance under one policy.
  • Most insurers allow you to update your health insurance coverage within 60 days of a qualifying life event, such as marriage. Investigate your options to determine what offers the best coverage based on the cost and terms of insurance. If it's less expensive or you simply like the coverage you currently have, maintaining separate coverage is also an option.
  • Prepare for tax season by determining your tax-filing status (married filing jointly or married filing separately). Depending on your individual situation, each filing option carries pluses and minuses. Talk to a financial professional to help determine which filing status is most tax-efficient. Here's an article with more information about your options.
  • If you need a hand managing your money, Vanguard has people who can help. Our team of Certified Financial Planner™ professionals can support you as you navigate through a range of financial topics.

Note:

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

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