As an employer, am I responsible to pay an employee after their death?

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As an employer, am I responsible to pay an employee after their death?

I had an employee who had passed away. The day before I had written her a check which she had signed over to a third party of wich I had no knowledge. I had stopped the payment after finding out of her death. Today I received a letter from the woman’s surviving 18 year old son who states that he is entitled to her

check, although it was signed over to another party.

Asked on February 4, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you have to pay the employee for all work he or she did up to the moment he/she died; death does not cancel out your obligation to pay for work done. Since a person can sign a check over to another party, you had no legal right to stop the payment. If you can, cancel the stop pay, so the check can be negotiated; if you can't do that, you'll need to reisussue a new check. Since a reissued check would be sent out after the employee passed away, you would make such a check out to the "estate of" the employee, not to the 3rd party; the 3rd party would have to then seek the money from the estate.


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