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Joint bank a/c - TIP problems with second signatory


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Here's something that's really causing me problems.

OH has become very forgetful;  step by step I'm having to take over more of the payments for water, lecky etc.   (I've always completed the tax returns).

I recently signed one of the TIPs for our water bill; normally signed by him, but I picked up the bill (he'd tucked it to one side and 'forgot' it).

So I sorted it.  (Can't talk to him any more about things he's forgotten, because he has become extremely short-tempered and aggressive over such matters...).

But it seems as though either SAUR, or our bank, does not/will not recognise my signature on a TIP.

No problems with cheques - can be signed by either of us.

But this water bill/TIP is driving me nuts.

Sent signed TIP for original bill;  have now received second 'reminder' demanding payment, and adding a 'late payment' charge !!

Our local bank is now one of those that is closed most of the time;  can't check on-line because on-line needs new password - and every time I try the system doesn't 'recognise' new password.

Have sent e-mail to manager of local bank explaining problem, and asking them to confirm payment to SAUR has been made.

Not yet heard anything.  (My french really isn't adequte to cope with complicated phone calls).

But wondering if it's because I'm now signing TIP which means either the water company, or the bank, are not accepting TIP signed by me rather than by husband.

Is that a possibility ?   Anyone else experienced this  (And it's not due to 'insufficient funds' - there's solid amount in a/c because neither of us wants problems with being accidently over-drawn with french bank, thank you very much !!).

Comments anyone - a very puzzled Chessie

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I'm the second sig on our account (in  other words they always put the man first!), and I sign our TIPs OK.

I sympathise, my OH is not as bad as yours - yet - but I see some signs that he may go like yours ... so difficult!  But as for the bill, do you have a local SAUR office, we had to go once (for the family house, not this one) when we needed to change the account details, but that is some time ago, so may not be possible now.

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Chessie : I sympathise, I know what you are going through.

Judith wrote : I'm the second sig on our account (in other words they always put the man first!), and I sign our TIPs OK.

Some years ago I had a similar problem as OH was first named on our account etc.

So I made an appt with our conseiller to change this to me being the 'lead' name and OH being the secondary name on the account. Simply because I made all payments for everything and filed our tax return etc.

I was given a 'new' bank card and an amended access to all our current and savings accounts.

This is worth the hassle .. as since then everything works without any problem.


Chessie wrote : But wondering if it's because I'm now signing TIP which means either the water company, or the bank, are not accepting TIP signed by me rather than by husband.

Answer : Possibly because, years ago, when the payment system was set up it was your OH who signed for the water company.

But why are you using TIP payments today; the world has moved on ?

Prélèvements automatiques improved these days and are now very reliable as regards utilities, tax etc.

You do need to talk to the conseiller at your Bank.

If they are rubbish .. then change your Bank; it really is not impossibly hard to do these days.
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 Now I have no idea if this is still valid and legal and went against everything I have ever thought should happen, but I will tell you what happened to us endless numbers of years ago.

I went to the Mairie, who one should hope understand french law and rules. There was some paperwork for my husband and I had called in to collect it as I cannot remember why he was not available, maybe a course, but not available.

They said that I should sign for him, and I said I would sign my name pp. Ah no they said, just sign just like he would sign, ie forge his signature, at least that is what I would call it.

It was not for a driving licence or ID card incidentally, but certainly for some needed paperwork.

So I did, and picked up what ever it was.

I think I would do this again if in France and in such a situation. And I would sign a TIP, why not if it is from a joint account?????

Does anyone know if one can still do this????

I never liked the TIP system and always sent a cheque. Not that it didn't mean  that the whole thing couldn't be a big coc kup, because I have seen such things happen.

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Thanks for lovely, helpful replies.

Sue - think you may have spotted the problem - but what the h---.  Joint account, joint money, either of us can sign cheques - so why can't SAUR accept a TIP signed by me ?   That's so wrong - in these days of eu regs, diktats, equal rights - what's going on here ?

Had also enclosed a note to SAUR explaining we were late paying bill because OH had mislaid/lost/forgotten bill for a while until I had discovered it and realised it had not been paid.

As for 'paying on line' - can't because unable to get bank's computer system to recognise new password;  have had look at SAUR's website, and rather worried that I might, by mistake, sign us up for d/d rather than make payment - ..... I'll have to visit bank to sort out this problem as well.  

Judith - your answer about  'why use TIP' - snap - same problems here.  OH doesn't use computer, not keen on the d/d method (had same attitude in UK).   Yes, some bills are paid by d/d - and some not.   And sadly this is one that isn't.   Because of his attitude I'm reluctant to make any changes.

Today, we've received a third bill from SAUR - with yet another fine added.

Now here's where I'm becoming very cross;  if there was a problem with the first TIP which they wouldn't accept, am I wrong in thinking it would have been a requirement that SAUR write and explain why they couldn't accept the TIP.

Oh no, they carry on, merrily sending another reminder, with another fine.

Well - I'm not accepting this.   Fortunately I insisted some time back, that any bill we pay, which is paid using a TIP - or cheque, he was to hand to me so that I could photocopy cheque/TIP as proof, and record, of what had been paid, and I've also done the same for any payments I made.

So I've got the proof that SAUR have had 2 TIPs from me.... and now they're going to receive a strongly worded letter.

Doesn't this silly little episode highlight a problem for married women out here - particularly when faced with a partner who is showing signs of early Alzy.   We all know the problems with our maiden name/surname on driving licences;  this might be another one to highlight and remember.

I can't talk to him about any of this;  he's always been short-tempered, now he is very volatile, and is becoming agressive at times.   I've had the sneering comments about 'well you seem to be taking over all the finances....' - said with great resentment and agression.   (I've been shoved recently, so hard that I tripped and could have fallen - so I'm very, very wary and am trying to sort this problem out on my own because I can't talk to him about it).

Now to write a letter to SAUR; if I enclose a RIB from bank with my signature, will that mean that SAUR will in future only accept any TIP signed by me - or will their system accept that a TIP could be signed by either one of us?   Surely such a company is not so backward that it will accept a TIP from only one person on a joint bank account ?  

Thanks everyone - wish me luck


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Because of my dad and my mum I do look in this forum from time to time. The words " early Alzy" caught my eye because my mother died from it in France.

I was surprised how much state help you can get. I don't know where from exactly (my dad sourced it) but there is English language stuff around on the internet with regards to Alzheimer's in France, what you can claim etc. You can also get respite care and if you husband is now leaning towards the physical violence side you need specialist help and there are drugs he can have that help stop this from happening without making him into a zombie. You would also be entitled to some form of home help which I believe you get the money for and then sort to put yourself through approved agencies.

It is a terrible disease without doubt and having watched it develop in my mother first hand it can be incredibly upsetting for the prime carer. It is also a necessity at times to be able to talk to somebody outside of the family who understands the decease what you are going through.

Anyway have a look around on the web. There may not be one shown where you live but contact their HQ because they may be able to put you in contact with another organisation in your area that can help. I think the group my dad was a member of was actually for American women in France but they had an Alzheimer group in his area. I think it helped him a lot.

I think you should also look into the legal side of things like power of attorney sooner rather than later. Not so much to activate it now but have it in place for the future. It seems logical as somebody pointed out to start making yourself the primary person and he the secondary for the future.

I hope that helps and good luck.
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Chessie, you need to talk to your GP about this violence and maybe the assistant  sociale too.

Where he is ill or not, assault is assault and  you could end up badly hurt, whether he means it or not and judging by what you have said, if he is pushing you, he currently means it.

And his sarky remarks, well, please please ignore them. He should never ever have thought this part of your married  life was 'his' exclusive domain,  a marriage is sharing, we say the words honour and cherish as part of the deal. 

In every home it is quite usual for one in a couple to deal with the bills, but really it should never mean that it excludes the other person.

I do ours and, a few years ago we discussed my doing it all and he said,  through lack of interest on his part.......he just hadn't kept up with what needed doing, so we decided to have left a list of all that needs doing if something happens to me.

I am so sorry that you are in this position.

Write to Saur and tell them that they have had the TIP with a signature that was perfectly valid on your M OU Mme joint account, and they are being unreasonble.

In fact so is your other half. Get some prelevements done, and tittle him.

Sorry if my reply  might seem harsh, but you are not the only person I know of going through this..... best to get a handle on this before things get even worse.

And the very best of luck.

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Cathar Tours wrote : Because of my dad and my mum I do look in this forum from time to time. The words " early Alzy" caught my eye because my mother died from it in France.

I was surprised how much state help you can get. I don't know where from exactly (my dad sourced it) but there is English language stuff around on the internet with regards to Alzheimer's in France, what you can claim etc. You can also get respite care and if you husband is now leaning towards the physical violence side you need specialist help and there are drugs he can have that help stop this from happening without making him into a zombie.

That is a very helpful post .. food for thought.
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Chessie :

Do talk to your Bank re your present lack of being able to access the Internet .. it is their job to help you.

Another thought . . Do you have a Saur office anywhere near you ? As we have one in our very tiny neighbouring town where you can talk to a real person, so you could discuss your present difficulty with them and ask their advice.
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Cathar - thank you for taking the time and trouble to provide info on help provided here in France;  I'll print out and keep for future reference.  I'm sorry you have found it necessary to know so much about Alzy.

As for GP's advice - yes, I'm already thinking about that, but how to get him to GP is the problem !!

We don't have local SAUR office that could deal with payment hiccups.

But I have a plan - rather than deal with computer centre - writing to Head Office to complain.

Think it's very wrong of organisation to continue sending reminders, even after TIP has been sent - without any explanation from them as to why original payment not accepted - it is that which I find rather immoral and irresponsible of them.   So will take this further.

In the meantime I'll send another TIP, plus a RIB, plus a cheque - and demand an explanation for the way this has been handled.

Do find it very 'odd'; reject payments - but no explanation, just add on further 'late payment' charges - grossly unfair.

Thanks everyone; lovely words of advice, help and support - sometimes it can feel very difficult, and I'm always grateful for this forum and lovely people on here.

Thank you again


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Chessie:  If you are in a village or small town your Mairie will point you in the right direction for help. You need perhaps to chat to a social worker. Most villages/towns have a S.Worker available once a week or so just to go and chat with.

Your doctor too will know where to get help, you do not need O. H,. to go to doctor - just go yourself.
Been there, done that (and got the t-shirt) with a parent - lots of help available.
Bon courage.

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Chessie I agree, I wouldn't imagine that you could get him to the GP's.

Won't stop you going though, if he wants to know why you are going, just make something up, headaches or 'women's issues'.... anything.

I imagine that the GP will be used to hearing about carers problems. And as I said, maybe the assistant sociale could help too.

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Chessie, do make an appointment with the GP. You can then explain the situation so that when OH goes to see the GP, presumably, it will be about another matter, the GP knows the situation and can steer the conversation to the alzheimers.

Can feel your frustration in trying to pay the bill - seems you have a solid gold jobsworth to deal with.
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If I may can I ask a couple of questions. Where and how was he diagnosed and is he aware that he is not well?

The first tests my mother had were MRI and CT. Not so much to say she had Alzheimer's but more to say she had nothing else which might give similar symptoms like a tumour etc.

After that there was a set of neurological tests, things like long and short term memory (long term is not days but hours apparently). Does he know the time and date, does he know where he is if somebody just turns round and says "where are you"? He should have completed a MMSE and Mini-Cog test.

It is usually a day in hospital with the scans etc. and you are not allowed a translator but they will find an English speaking doctor for you. Indeed most neurologists in Europe speak English sufficiently to carry out the tests. The tests world wide are the same and pretty self explanatory and there is an observer present normally to watch body and eye movements. They can tell a lot from that or so they told us.

You should also have been given a contact person at the hospital and information on what to look out for and the drug regime. My mum was checked up on every three months. I have to say I was amazed at how "joined up" everything was in France, doctors, blood tests, chemists, hospital transportation, GP etc and of course it is covered 100% by the state like cancer and other ALD's. Everyone she and my dad came in contact with seemed to know exactly what was going on, what was supposed to happen, when and where.

The other thing is denial on the patients behalf. My mother said there was nothing wrong with her, it was just her age. I have a sense that might be your current situation.

The hospital will also give a rough idea as to life expectancy. We were initially told 4 to 6 years but it could be up to 20 years. My mum died after 5 years with the last two being in care.

On a personal level you MUST look after yourself. It took a great toll on my dad, indeed it is my personal opinion that it killed him in the end (stress, stroke etc. as he had a bad heart).

Also if you feel the GP should see him then get the GP to come to you although really you should be talking to the hospital care staff and the nurse/doctor allocated to him when he was tested.

Alzheimer's is a terrible thing and to watch somebody whom you have loved and spent the largest portion of your life with degenerate at first hand is something that you cannot explain to anyone unless they to have experience exactly the same.

Best of luck and don't be shy on asking for help. Indeed I am surprised having read about the pushing etc. that you don't have any already.
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Well I was "lucky", I had/could walk away because of living in another country. I didn't have to spend every waking hour with her unlike my dad and the time I did spend with the pair of them I found very upsetting.

I am lucky in that my company was very understanding and allowed me a lot of time off to visit them although some of my uni work suffered but then I can/have got that back and it's a small price to pay.

Although I had to deal with it "first hand" I remember thinking how does my dad deal with this day in day out. Seems clearly he didn't in the end which is why you should not be shy of asking for help.
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[quote user="Cathar Tours"] .................. I remember thinking how does my dad deal with this day in day out. Seems clearly he didn't in the end which is why you should not be shy of asking for help.[/quote]

Unfortunately I think too many people are shy of asking for help on this forum, as they are in fear of being treated with abuse for their stupidity and presumption.

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I was pointing out that you should ask for professional help and others have said the same. There is a big difference between parking your car at Toulouse and Alzheimer's.

You might also like to look in the mirror, you have done your share of being nasty and extremely rude. One only has to read your replies to Richard for example. So get back in your box and talk about the limited amount of things you know something about. To think you have the audacity to complain about people making stupid non relevant comments in threads just to make some childish point. I suspect you will now make some stupid comment and ruin another thread as is your way.
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 IF cathar tours your were addressing me, it is presumptuous.

My mother died of a horrible illness, with many symptoms of alzheimers including memory loss, along with the rest of it, which was awful to behold.

I was in France.

I went back regularly and in the end had an almighty row with my Dad who assured me he was coping. And yet on my visits, bit by bit we found there was nothing to be done for my mother, no treatment, but my Dad was looking worse and worse and worse. Drained and exhausted.

I worried more for him than her, because if he had taken ill, I had no idea what would happen to  my mother.

We, Dad and I had an almighty row at the end of a week when I had been nagging him to get some help. I mean it was shouting et al and very unpleasant. I truly thought he was going to tell me to sling my hook and never come back, but in the end he said in a very dismissive voice to to ahead.

We were lucky, social services actually sent someone the next day, and the ball started rolling and then I had to go home to my young children.

Things were done quickly, truly they had reached that point, and the social worker had had a right go at him about not asking for help at least a year or two before.

He called me about a week later and said, I had been right.

So, bearing in mind, and I have friends in the exact same situation at the moment, who have  parents or OH's with demenita or early onset Alzheimers, all I shall every say is, get professional help asap. Maybe it wouldn't be much at first, but no one is going to 'get better' from such things.

Also, as I said, my priority is always with the carer, because their health is actually just as important as those that are sick, because caring takes a heavy  toll, especially as we get older. And I was at the point where I thought my father's, what some considered valiant efforts, were going to kill him.

My mother also was NEVER an easy woman and controlling until she became too  ill, especially with the purse strings. ie they were visiting us and she was going to stay longer and my Dad would drive back on his own. She asked me how much she should give him for the journey, including getting his ferry. I said about 3000ff for everything to cover.

My Dad came angrily to me sometime later, with 300ff in his hand and said that I had told her that would be enough and she was refusing to give him more.

What a mess that was trying to sort out. She was in early stages of her illness then, although we had no idea what was coming later, any of us. She swore blind that I had said 300ff, which I had not, thirty quid to drive a 1000 miles, motorways and ferries and food. She gave him just over 1000ff in the end and told him to manage.....she had a lot more with her, but he was not getting it.

So I have no idea who you were addressing but if it was me, my family got more than just the tee shirt. And if it was not me, well, that is a very sad part of my life.

Incidentally, with that extra help, my Dad kept my mother alive for a further 4 years, and that in itself was sad, because later he said that he had been so determined to 'care' that he hadn't realised that her body had been screaming out to 'go' and leave her in peace. And yet, he couldn't have done any different. It is the dilemma of end of life care. And something I have given much thought to.

He also said that if roles had been reversed, she would not only have not been able to care for him, but he doesn't think that she would have wanted to either, and he would have been in a home pretty soon....... and if that sounds harsh, my mother was simply 'like that'.

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No I haven't wasted my time. This is about a carer who needs to try and get help and all I can think is that that is imperative.

Like you I have lived through a terrible time, and being away, I in no way got the worst of it.

We had always planned to move back to England upon retirement, but never where, but as my Dad was getting old,  my husband suggested we move to the same area, so we could help out if needed.

Where ever we had moved to, we would have always been closer than in France, but it has in the end been a good move. And Dad went from fit to frail very quickly in his last couple of years and was showing the early signs of alzheimers or dementia, and was becoming aggravated. And then he had an aneurysm and he went very quickly in his sleep.

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idun, I think he may have been referring to me, but I wasn't referring to him in particular when I mentioned people hesitating to ask questions for fear of rude replies. That has been the case on this forum for several people for some time. For him I guess it happens to be a case of the cap fitting.

I often wonder myself why people don't make more use of search engines, but then I consider that they might have other problems that I don't know about, and their question is just a way of putting a toe in the water. Whatever the query or how superfluous it might seem at first sight, it shouldn't be treated with scorn and disdain.

If I'm worried about an onslaught of criticism about any advice or suggestions I might have, or starting a pointless argument, I send a PM, explaining the reason.

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"This is about a carer who needs to try and get help and all I can think is that that is imperative".

My response was a bit glib Idun, I apologise. I am at work although now is my lunch.

I absolutely agree but it is beyond the scope of this forum other than to point in general directions. What alarmed me (and others) was the fact that the husband had been abusive towards the wife both mentally and physically which is just not on especially as there is help out there which both you and I (and possibly others) know there is.

At this stage it is more to do with action rather than thinking on it and I think enough information has been given now and just needs to be acted on.

People like your dad, mine and hundreds of thousands of mums and dads in cases like this are the real "hero's". Like I said watching this happen to someone you care about and have lived with for the majority of you life is difficult. I just hope she pays attention and is seeking the help she needs and now knows she can get.
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