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Bills in man's name

(34 Posts)
Jan49 Sun 14-Apr-13 02:37:48

Has anyone else come across this? Amongst people I know, one single elderly female has her phone bill in her father's name even though he's been dead for 40 years. It appears that she kept the phone number after moving house and has never changed the name to hers. Another elderly female friend has her phone bill in her late father's name. He died years ago and she lived with her mum so it should have been changed to her mum's name and then eventually to my friend's name. I can't figure out how that's even possible as companies often won't speak to anyone but the named person and ask lots of security questions. When I've dealt with a death in the family, changing the names on things like gas bills is one of the things I'd expect to do within months.

The people I've mentioned are elderly but I also realised not long ago that during the years I lived with my partner/husband (now divorced), the bills I'd set up for things like utilities were in joint names and the ones he'd set up were in his sole name. I thought at first it reflected him feeling very negatively towards me in the few years before we split up, but I still had bills relating to previous properties we'd lived in and he'd done the same at those! Why? We're both in our 50s. Do couples usually have utility bills in joint names? I'm just wondering how my mindset is different from my ex's so that when he was phoning and asked what name he just gave his own, whereas I gave both our names as joint owners and would never think of just giving my own name.

Jan49 Sun 14-Apr-13 02:51:27

What I suppose I'm trying to say is, do many men have a kind of mindset like my ex seems to have had where they just think of their own name automatically?

tigerdriverII Sun 14-Apr-13 03:07:24

Ours are mixed. Some are in my name, none are in joint names, some, like the phone bill are in DH'S name because he had his own phone before I did.

It's not a big deal IMO

SavoyCabbage Sun 14-Apr-13 04:15:16

All ours are in dh's name. He set them all up. If I'd have done it, I would have put them in my name.

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 14-Apr-13 04:53:52

Some companies actually can be a pain about having joint names. I set ours up and iirc it was either water or electricity who wouldn't do joint names and didn't want to add a second accountholder till I insisted.

sashh Sun 14-Apr-13 09:46:29

For the elderly people this is a safety thing. Some rumour in about 1910 that single women would be targeted by, well I don't know who.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 14-Apr-13 09:51:18

Ours are mixed, I think (in our thirties), depending who set what up. Also, sometimes they want to speak to the first named (eg joint credit card, which is me) regardless.

AuntieStella Sun 14-Apr-13 09:56:08

My father was dangerously ill for some time, and everything was changed to Mum's name at that point (much easier when the named person is around to do it) except one joint bank account.

Given the longevity stats, it always seemed the more sensible way round anyhow.

tribpot Sun 14-Apr-13 09:56:31

Yes, a number of bills are in my name only because the company (it's usually telecoms more than utilities) wouldn't set it up in joint names. Most bills are joint even though I always deal with them, because then either of us can do it and the bills are useful as a form of ID.

Keeping the bills in the name of a dead person is potentially fraudulent, although I appreciate that your elderly friend means no harm and is in no danger of being taken off to prison for it!

Shouldn't the name of the bill essentially indicate responsibility for paying the bill?

wannabedomesticgoddess Sun 14-Apr-13 09:58:27

My GF died in 1979 and the phonebill in my GMs house is still in his name.

In our house, all the bills are in DPs name. Not sure why, never really thought about it tbh.

All the money goes into MY account though. So its not like hes trying to be controlling. He couldnt if he tried.

tribpot Sun 14-Apr-13 09:59:23

Doctrine - there's no such thing as a joint credit card (in the UK at least), if you're the principal card holder it's entirely your account (and your liability). The second card holder isn't responsible for the bill in the eyes of the card company.

Thurlow Sun 14-Apr-13 10:01:44

Ours are all in DH's name. Is that really that weird? DP does most of the financial stuff, running it from a joint account. I know where the information is and would be fine to manage it all if I needed to. It's just part of how we split the jobs that need doing around the house, and one of his 'jobs' is keeping an eye on bills and making sure we're on the right plans etc. He's just better with money than I am - and that's nothing to do with him being a man, I'm just generally a bit crap with money.

mercibucket Sun 14-Apr-13 10:02:48

All bills are in my name only. I set them up, I pay them, I want them in my name as otherwise it is a pain. We have different surnames, it is one more thing to spell/fill out, then they might want to speak to him/ get his signature for stuff etc. A pain. Poor dh has barely any proof he exists.

mercibucket Sun 14-Apr-13 10:02:48

All bills are in my name only. I set them up, I pay them, I want them in my name as otherwise it is a pain. We have different surnames, it is one more thing to spell/fill out, then they might want to speak to him/ get his signature for stuff etc. A pain. Poor dh has barely any proof he exists.

MoaningYoniWhingesAgain Sun 14-Apr-13 10:02:53

Everything here is in my name. It was my house before we married and even when I changed providers I have always kept everything in my name. I doubt DH knows who supplies our energy or phone.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 14-Apr-13 10:08:37

Trib pot, do you know why? We are jointly liable for everything else, I think (mortgage and joint account are with the same bank as credit card)?

tribpot Sun 14-Apr-13 10:13:15

Doctrine - the concept doesn't exist in the UK. Some info here. It might be worth your DH taking out a separate card solely so he maintains a credit history (although the joint account/mortgage will be doing that too). He effectively doesn't exist on your card.

Our bills are in two different surnames as well - has caused some problems but that's the joy of not changing your name on marriage!

2tired2bewitty Sun 14-Apr-13 10:14:40

DH finds it useful to tell those people who accost you in shopping centres that he has no idea who supplies our gas and electric smile

Stillcluelessat40 Sun 14-Apr-13 10:19:54

Don't think it is easy to set up most accounts in two names, though I might be wrong. I would think whoever set up the account puts their name on it. That is what we have done, and I only noticed how much financial responsibility I had when we recently applied for a mortgage, and could find almost nothing in dh's name as proof of identity!
I imagine in the past, if a woman did make the arrangements for eg the electric account, they would have asked for her husband's name. Considering if you go back far enough women needed permission to have a bank account.

PointlessCow Sun 14-Apr-13 10:21:54

Ours are in my name or joint names because I usually do all the organizing.

MIL still has bills in her FIL's name despite divorcing him 5 years ago hmm

LaFataTurchina Sun 14-Apr-13 10:34:19

Ours are in DPs name, because he set them up. He tried to stick my name on as well (as I often need CRB checks for work), but despite this only his name shows up on the paper might think it was years ago he set up these accounts, but nope it was about 6 months ago!

Luckily the council tax people live in the 21st century and both our names appear on that.

chickenfactory Sun 14-Apr-13 10:45:07

My gran definitely still had bills in my GF name 20 years after he died. Most are in my name as DH works away so much it would be a pain otherwise, in old house they were in his name initially but as suppliers changed so did the name.
Come to think of it, DH's gran had her husbands initial on her front door name plate, even though she had moved a few times and he died over 30years ago. Wasn't a 30 year old name plate either!

notcitrus Sun 14-Apr-13 11:00:55

It's still really hard to set up accounts in joint names, leading to problems when we've had to prove ID with a passport/licence plus a recent utility bill, as gas/electric is one bill, only in my name, and banks won't accept a printout, phone ditto, water is only in my name and spelt so wrongly I can't use it for ID, but after 2 attempts I can't be bothered to correct them any more.

So it has to be council tax, which is the only one that accepts multiple names, presumably because any adults in the house are jointly and severally liable. And the bill hasn't turned up this year.

Wasnt it only about 1970 that married women could have accounts etc in their own name and only 1974 with the Sex Discrimination Act that the utilities etc were banned from requiring husbandly consent for stuff? I'm sure my parents have accounts dating to before then - I know they had huge problems opening a back account at all in 1970 and only managed it as one of my dad's school friends worked for the bank.

MrsBazinga Sun 14-Apr-13 11:10:33

Since we moved house all accounts for everything are joint names. My DH works away a lot and in the past I've had problems dealing with stuff while he's not here, as companies wouldn't talk to me as I wasn't named on the accounts (Sky, insurance stuff). This was exacerbated by the fact that i don't use my married name, which stumped some companies. We had no problems since then, and with a lot of stuff he just had to ring up and have my name put on as well.

Jan49 Sun 14-Apr-13 13:20:10

Wow, thank you for the interesting replies.

I have always 'kept my own name' so the bills in joint names were 2 different names. I'm surprised people have had difficulty getting a company to put 2 different names on the bill. I'm glad to think it isn't just men who sometimes put the bills in their sole names.

I remember years ago sometimes people said they wanted the phone book (the type you get delivered to the doorstep) to show the man's name and a widow might leave the phone bill in her late h's name as it was thought safer not to suggest that you were a woman living alone, presumably as it said Mrs/Miss/Ms rather than Mr and you sometimes got sleezy phone calls from men who picked on the numbers shown as a woman's. Easily solved though by being ex-directory or just putting initials.

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