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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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