Will I be able to claim my husband’s pension if I do not change my last name to my married name?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2012

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Will I be able to claim my husband’s pension if I do not change my last name to my married name?

My husband wants me to change my last name to his because he says that I wouldn’t be able to claim his pension if he dies. He also says that there are other legal implications such as in filing taxes. Is this true?

Asked on January 3, 2012 under Family Law, Arizona


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In this day and age I would say no, it is not true.  There are no legal implications to filing taxes using your name and filing jointly as husband and wife.  That is becuase you are affirming that you are filing jointly as husband and wife when you sign the return.  You would also have your accountant prepare the taxes based upon the law applicable to a married couple.  Next, I highly dobt that you would be denied his pension becuase you use your maiden name.  The plan may ask for a copy of your marriage license.  That would be appropriate.  But legally if you were entitled to his pension as his spouse they could not keep it from you because you do not use his last name.  I think there is something else going on here.  You may want to compromise and hyphenate the names.  But that is really up to you.  Good luck.

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