If a husband or wife dies unexpectedly, the surviving spouse is often plunged into a financial crisis. The dead spouse’s last paycheck is needed just to keep the household above water. The employer may not want to give the surviving spouse the last paycheck because a later appointed executor or administrator may demand the money and the employer may have to pay the amount twice if it gave the check to the surviving spouse if he/she wasn’t entitled to it. How does the surviving spouse get that last paycheck before a probate is filed and an executor or administrator is appointed? Surprisingly, Texas has an app (statute) for that.
The Estates Code provides that an employer has no liability if it gives the last paycheck, including unpaid sick pay and vacation pay to the spouse when she/he gives the employer an affidavit stating that she/he is the surviving spouse and that no one has qualified as executor or administrator. The employer is not required to inquire into the truth of the affidavit. Even if it turns out to have paid the wrong person, the employer has no additional liability if this procedure is followed. EC §453.004 (formally TPC §160(b).)
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By Robert Ray a Board Certified attorney. The foregoing information is general in nature and does not apply to every fact situation. We handle litigation involving inheritance disputes. We don’t prepare wills. We don’t file wills for probate or distribute estates except when we are contesting a will or protecting a will from a contest. We handle a select few cases on contingency. Don’t use a comment to ask a personal question about an inheritance issue because your name and comment will be public. To ask a litigation question and to protect your privacy, click the red button to the right.