Planning a wedding is an extremely busy and often stressful period of time, especially now more than ever with weddings looking to be going ahead without any legal limits this summer. Chances are you will be trying to organise a hundred things at once, whether it’s dress fittings, seating plans, or perhaps the most exciting part, the honeymoon.
While it’s understandable that you will be caught up with thoughts of beautiful bouquets and finding the perfect venue, it’s important to spare a thought for how your marriage will impact your finances, and more specifically your mortgage. Whether you already own a property, or if you’re looking to get on the property ladder, here’s everything you need to know about how your upcoming, or recent, wedding will affect your mortgage.
Do you legally have to update your name on your mortgage?
The short answer is no, there is no legal obligation to update your name on your mortgage, however, it is recommended. There are far more important organisations to notify of your name change, such as the DVLA, Electoral Role and Passport Office, where it is a legal obligation. Updating these forms of ID will help when it comes to changing your name on other important documents such as utility suppliers and insurance documents.
Thankfully, updating your name with most organisations is often a straightforward process and this is no different when it comes to updating your mortgage. It’s common these days for couples to own a property together before getting married so the process of changing your name is fairly simple. The only time things can get complicated is if you decide against changing your name on your mortgage and then you decide to remortgage later down the line. Occasionally this can cause delays or issues with your lender which is why we would always recommend updating your mortgage with your name change as soon as possible.
This is the case for anyone changing their name legally. So, if you’re adopting your partner’s surname, you’ll need to make the updates, if it’s them taking yours, they’ll be making the changes. If you both choose to double-barrel your names, you’ll both need to contact the relevant organisations with this.
Can you add your partner’s name to your mortgage?
While it isn’t as simple as updating a name on your mortgage, adding your partner to an existing mortgage shouldn’t be an issue. If you hold a mortgage on your own and want to add your newlywed partner they will be required to undergo a full assessment. This is part of the legal process known as a transfer of equity.
They will have to undergo the same standard checks as if they were applying for a new mortgage, such as income and affordability checks. If either party doesn’t meet your lender’s criteria, they are under no obligation to add you or your partner to an existing mortgage. Therefore, it’s important to decide whether you will pass these checks beforehand, and if you are concerned, take steps towards improving your mortgage affordability and financial circumstances before contacting your lender.
What do you need to know if you are getting married before owning a property?
When it comes to updating your name with various organisations, there is a reason that the Electoral Role should be a top priority. If you attempt to apply for any form of credit in your new name, whether that’s a mortgage, credit card or overdraft, if you haven’t informed the lender of your name change they may struggle to find your credit report.
If you aren’t quite at the stage of applying for a mortgage, this is the perfect time to ensure everything is in order ahead of your application. From a financial point of view, use this time to get your finances in shape by paying off credit card bills, cancelling unused store cards and ensuring there are no unpaid bills in your name. If you can’t pay everything off straight away, start doing as much as you can to get ahead, this will display to your prospective lender that you are a responsible borrower.
Once the big day does eventually arrive, your mind will be over the place, however, there are a number of things you need to consider in the following days or weeks. Most importantly you want to make sure that you order multiple copies of your marriage certificate as this will be required when updating your name with various organisations. Having multiple copies means you can apply to several places at the same time, without having to wait for your certificate to be returned to you.
Finally, if you haven’t started already, now is the time to start practising your new signature. Often married couples will only try their new signature for the first time when signing something like a mortgage, so be sure to get it right.
So in short, it isn’t a legal requirement to make your mortgage provider aware of a name change after tying the knot, however, it’s highly recommended. After marriage, it’s likely that you will be thinking of the next step, and whether that’s remortgaging or buying your dream home, it’s one less hurdle to overcome.
Joanne Leek is Marketing Manager, Mortgages at Ipswich Building Society, a nationwide mortgage lender that assesses each mortgage application by a mortgage expert, not an algorithm.