Who is liable when the person named on the bill dies
When the person named on the bill dies, the supplier may attempt to secure payment from someone who was living with her/him. In these circumstances, the situation is as outlined above. Where no one else is liable for the bill, any bills outstanding can be charged to the deceased’s estate. This means that outstanding bills must be paid for out of money belonging to the deceased, or out of the proceeds of the sale of any belongings. The cost of the funeral and any costs involved in dealing with the estate take priority over all other debts except ‘realised securities’ such as a mortgaged property. So, if a consumer dies with an outstanding mortgage and the house is sold to meet this debt, anything left will go first to pay for the funeral and administration costs; any outstanding fuel bills are a lower priority. See CPAG’s Debt Advice Handbook for more details.
If the person left nothing, the bill lapses and the supplier must bear the loss. If you have paid the bill of a person who has died, in the mistaken belief that you were responsible for doing so, the supplier can usually be persuaded either to credit your own account or refund the money. If the supplier refuses to do so, seek legal advice about the options available to you. This can include making a formal complaint with the supplier or recovering the monies through the small claims court.