My employer died Friday. Payroll is in question. What steps do I need to take NOW?

The owner of the LLC I work for died Friday. Now attorneys are telling our his
daughter our Executive Assistant HR officer that she is no longer to have any
communication with the banks. Payroll is in question for tomorrow, and we worked
this week I have a week worth of vacation that are also in question. What do I
need to do right now?

Asked on October 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There may be little you can do right now: if the daughter did not have the proper authority (e.g. check signing authority) for the company, she legally cannot pay you right now. Instead, if the business was not set up with a succession plan or for continuity after the owner died, someone (probably the daughter or the owner's spouse, if there is one) will have to be appointed the estate's "personal representative" (executor or administrator) with authority over estate assets, including the LLC, and the responsibility to pay its debts; at that point, if there is sufficient money in the LLC (which there may not be, if its operations stop), they should be able to pay payroll. The problem is, even though there is a legal obligation to pay employees, that can only happen if there are assets to pay them and someone with the requisite legal authority to access them. You can and should monitor the situation and keep trying to communicate, but you have to resign yourself to the unpleasant fact that this could take long, and there is a chance you will never get the money owed you.


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