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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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. New Link Destination
day 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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.

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 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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