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Employment Law/Wages owed on deceased employee


QUESTION: We have an employee in our Oklahoma facility who passed away suddenly.  She is owed for about a week's worth of hours.  She was divorced, her son and daughter are grown and out of the house.  Based on OK law:
165.3a. Wages and benefits upon employee’s death
Other than an employee provided with an option of beneficiary designation with respect to his wages and benefits by his employer, all wages earned by an employee, not exceeding Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00), shall, upon the employee’s death, become due and payable to the employee’s surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, the dependent children, or their guardians or the conservators of their estates, in equal shares, without the necessity of a probate court action.

We spoke to the daughter and her mother did not have a will nor a bank account that had any beneficiary information available.  

To whom do we make the check payable to?

ANSWER: You make the check payable to the Estate of ___________Employee's name.  Or you can divide it into equal shares and make two checks one payable to each of the children since they would technically be the coservators in absence of a will.  Do not pay it to only one child or the other child can come back on you for his/her share.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Is the earnings still reported under deceased employee's SSN when payable to the Estate for W-2 purposes?  Also are all taxes federal, FICA, medicare and state withheld?

After speaking with our legal administrator I would advise you to make the check to the estate of ___________(employee name). There is no will and you don't want other relatives to come forward.

Final checks paid due to death of an employee  during the same year of death are only subject to Social Security and Medicare.  The total wages for the year is reported on a W-2 and sent to the estate of ____________(emplyee name).

This website will help you.


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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).


30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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