My wife doesn't have my last name. I am fine with this, and the State of New Jersey has no objection either. But it turns out that in at least one place my wife's keeping her own name has some consequences. Suppose (well, let's say "assume") that she had wanted to re-register the car that's in my name. Not to re-register it in her name, but to re-register it on my behalf. If she did have my last name, she could have done so with no problem whatsoever. But since she doesn't, the only way she could have accomplished this feat would have been for me to grant her a power of attorney -- and that document would have had to be notarized! Oddly enough, I wound up re-registering the car myself.
I don't want to make too much of this. My wife and I were hardly subjected to an injustice. Even the inconvenience could have been avoided if I'd taken care of the paperwork by mail a month earlier (sigh). And the power of attorney form, which I've been studying this afternoon, applies not only to renewal of registration but also to transfer of registration and various other auto-related steps as well, and some of those might actually pose dangers of theft or fraud.
But really -- is there no way to take account more easily of the fact that many people today are married but don't share last names? Surely we should fix this anomaly as soon as global hunger has been alleviated!