What can I do if my late father’s employer will not release his pay check to me?

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What can I do if my late father’s employer will not release his pay check to me?

It has been a month since my father’s passing. I have been in contact with his employer who has made up many excuses to not mail me my father’s last paycheck. I am the next of kin as he was never married and I am his only child. My father did not have a Will.

Asked on July 18, 2019 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

It's not enough to be next of kin: next of kin does NOT automatically have authority over or rights to the deceased's money or amounts due to the deceased. You need to have the county probate court name you as your father's personal representative or administrator for his "estate" (everything he left behind), which is like being the executor when there is no will: as personal representative or administrator (some states use one term, some the other), you will have the legal authority to receive money owed him. If you don't cdo this, you'll have no right to get the money; only once you have been appointed by the court to this role will you have legal power or authority over your father's money, possessions, and amounts owed him. You will, however, have to open up an "estate" bank account into which to deposit it. If the employer does not provide you the check once you show them you have the requisite legal authority, you could sue them, as the personal represenative or administrator on behalf of the estate for the money.


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