When Kim and I were first married we knew women whose husbands had divorced them and suddenly they had no credit. Even though some of they had supported their husbands, none of the credit seemed to belong to them.

We thought we took care of that.

We weren’t thinking ahead to a possible divorce but we always assumed I would die first and if I did we wanted to make sure that Kim had a credit history. Really, she didn’t care much either way but I wanted to make sure.

So one car is in her name and one in mine. Some of the bills are in her name and some are in mine. The houses were in both of our names.

And then she died.

And nothing much changed. I continued to write checks and pay the bills and no one seemed to be bothered.

And then one day Wells Fargo thought they detected fraud on our credit card so they needed to reissue cards. I told them they didn’t need to send us one for Kim because she was dead.

“Oh,” said the woman, “I’m sorry for your loss, we need to cancel your card.”

“But, the card is on our mortgage which is in both of our names.”

“Yes, the mortgage is in both of your names but we have to choose someone as the primary contact for the credit card and we chose her so we have to cancel the card.”

“Well, switch it to me. It’s still tied to the mortgage.”

The couldn’t do that.

I’ve come to understand that that really means they wouldn’t do that.

So they cancelled our credit card but they’ve kept the account open. So it counts against our credit. They told me the main credit card owner has to cancel the account. I tried to explain again that she is dead. It seems that people use this as an excuse to get out of things so they didn’t believe me. I tried to point out that the account is paid up – I’m not trying to get out of anything. Really, I want them to send me a new card and we can continue.

I will have to take care of this sometime this month. They are, however, sorry for my loss.

I’ve been paying the bills and keeping up with them. I don’t, however, open envelopes marked “this is not a bill”. It turns out, this is not a good idea.

The gas company wants to shut off my gas.

They need to get in the house to check something and if I don’t let them they’re going to shut my gas off.

So I made an appointment.

The woman said, “this phone number doesn’t match the number in our records.”

I asked if she could change it. She said sure but Kimberli would need to call to make that change. I told her Kimberli couldn’t call – she’s dead.

The woman told me then they need to shut off my gas. They can’t have accounts for dead people.

But it’s not for a dead person – it’s for our house and we’ve been paying it for sixteen years – even in the nine months since Kim’s been dead. Just switch the name to my account.

“We can’t do that. We need to close this account and open a new one.”

Who do they think will be paying the balance on the account.

Doesn’t matter.

Oh and since I don’t have a history with them, they need a deposit before they can turn the gas back on.

They are, however, sorry for my loss.

Published in: on June 4, 2017 at 8:59 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s a terrible situation to be in. We dealt with this when my mother died as well. In fact, we had to deal with the bureaucracies to get married, which was a happier situation but still difficult. I can’t imagine how many millions of people — millions! — have had to deal with this. Hope you can get it resolved soon and keep the heat on.

  2. Bureaucracy. Go figure anything to make things more difficult.

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