Sunday, January 14, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 14, 2001

Get ready for a load of critical paperwork

After the honeymoon is over
Wedding Expo offers advice on gowns, cakes, the works

By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer

The wedding cake’s been shoved into the freezer, thank-you cards have been shipped by the boxloads and the bills are starting to pile up. You’ve even mailed off the form to get your wedding announced in the Ohana section.

You’re ready to begin normal, domestic life. Or so you think.

Newly married couples face an enormous number of practical tasks to mesh their lives together legally and financially. We asked experts, mostly married ones, to list the steps you need to take once the wedding’s over.

Changing names? This takes a lot more effort than most people realize.

First, you’ll need to get your marriage license, and the quicker the better. This is key to making all the other paperwork changes.

One of the most quoted pieces of advice from married couples: When you apply for your license to get married, send in the request form early for extra copies of your marriage certificate (ask the registrar for the form) instead of waiting for the certificate to be mailed to you.

You’ll need that marriage certificate to change names on bank accounts and other paperwork. And since you’ll want to hang on to at least one or two originals (including one for your scrapbook), you’ll want one or two extra official copies for mailing or showing around.

Once you have your new marriage certificate, you can make any name and address changes to your license and Social Security card.

Honolulu residents are required to update their drivers license within 30 days if you’ve changed your name or address, although the rule is rarely enforced.

If you don’t change your name on your Social Security card at least before the next round of tax forms are due, expect the Internal Revenue Service to mail you lots of reminders.

Next, make a list of everything that bears your name, from bank accounts to bike registration papers to airline mileage accounts. Rank them by importance or urgency. Then, take the necessary steps to alerting these companies about your name or address change.

To get the Post Office to forward your mail, just pick up a Change of Address form from any post office, fill in the information and drop it in the mail. The post office will forward your mail for 12 months.

In that time, you should notify everyone about your address change.

Next, you’ll want to tackle money matters. "Trust is still the biggest issue between couples, but second comes money," said Brian Nakashima, branch manager for Prudential Securities Inc. and certified financial advisor.

Managing finances can be tricky for newlyweds, who must learn to think "ours" instead of "mine."

He advises newlyweds to seek financial advice from someone qualified to strategize a plan feasible and beneficial for the couple based on their financial situation. This could be a financial planner, attorney, accountant, stock broker, tax consultant — anyone the couple trusts and feels comfortable with.

Chieh Fu Lu, of Nuuanu, who just tied the knot on Dec. 17, offered this practical advice: "Set up a joint account where all your bills are paid from. I think it’s easier to manage one account than several."

He and his wife, Chrysti, figured having separate personal bank accounts was unnecessary since they were now sharing everything, including expenses and bills.

"There’s no his’ or hers,’" said the 26-year-old financial advisor. "It’s now ours.’"

But if couples can’t make that transition, Nakashima recommends they ease into couple-hood, keeping separate accounts until they’re comfortable sharing expenses.

"It’s a stressful time," he said, referring to the honeymoon period. "Keep finances separate for awhile."

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