Widow Loses Credit History Along With Husband

Widows finds that she’s lost more than just a husband, she’s also lost decades worth of credit history, as creditors are unwilling or unable to transfer the joint accounts into her name. Takeaway: married couples, make sure your credit history is correct and listed under your individual name. Free credit report copies available at annualcreditreport.com.

Widow finds credit tied up in husband’s name [North County Times] (Thanks to Cazi!)


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  1. 3ZKL says:

    for better or worse. . .

  2. howie_in_az says:

    She also may not be able to get his Social Security benefits; my mother is unable to after my father passed away on May 25th 2007 because the government says she makes too much money. Instead, they sent her a nice $250 check for funeral costs. How gracious.

  3. ry81984 says:

    So does this go both ways?

    If her husband was in huge debt would they make her pay it after he died?
    Would they tell her that her husband credit was not her and no one would have to pay that debt?

  4. Schminteresting says:


    “Sure, let me just grab that file.. okay, let me scratch his name off this piece of paper here. Done!”


    “I’m sorry but that’s taken care of by our ChangeService department in Tulsa – their hours are 9am-4:30pm Central, here’s their number. Also, make sure when you call that you have a scanned, certified copy your late husband’s death certificate. Notarized. Also, you’ll need the PIN for your account (if you have forgotten the PIN you can log on to our website using the last 8 digits of your account number and the password you set up upon account opening. If, for some reason, you can’t remember the password, you can call our Tech Support number at 866-NEED-HLP [between 5am and 9pm Central]. When you call them, after a lengthy hold time, you’ll realize you need to know the last three transactions on your account (dollar amount and merchant number) to verify you are the cardholder, along with your late husband’s mother’s maiden name and his first childhood pet’s name (this combination is the PassKey Verifier we set up). If you don’t have that information, you can possibly get a new password by transferring the account to a new account number, though if you need to do that, let me give you the Customer Care number, 866-DONT-CARE).

    Is there anything else I can assist you with today?”

  5. MotherFury says:

    @ry81984: They would tell her to pay her husband’s debts.

    Divorce is also a good reason to maintain a separate credit histories. Took me a couple years to recover from my ex’s leisurely attitude towards paying our bills… [insert grumbling and swear words here]

  6. Auntie M. says:

    Same thing happened to my mother when my father died (she was 70). She thought that since she had her own card that she was also on the account, and was surprised to learn that she had no credit history. If anyone has parents who are older they might want to mention to them that they need the credit in both their names to avoid stuff like this.

  7. Chicago7 says:

    There’s too much emphasis on credit in this country. Is this the reason we are so low among the major nations in savings rate?

  8. arcticJKL says:

    I knew an 86 year old woman who’s accounts were under the name Mrs. John Smith. At some point the bank decided to drop all the ‘Mr’ ‘Mrs’ ‘Miss’ etc from their computers.

    When she went to the bank they wouldn’t help her as she was not John Smith.

  9. gafpromise says:

    This is a little off topic but the same goes for cars. My husband got in two car accidents, in which I wasn’t even in the car with him, yet somehow they were being reported on my driving report. I found this out when we went to renew our car insurance, and had to get it straightened out.

  10. Bunnymuffin says:

    @gafpromise: That’s how I found out about my Ex’s DUI while we were seperated. Our insurance guy calls me to tell me he’s dropping me because of my DUI. After a couple of minutes of hashing it out the insurance guy asked me when I was divorcing hubby.