Collect the deceased’s final wages

Settle the Estate

If the deceased was working at the time of their death, contact their employer to collect any final wages, vacation, or sick time payments.

Usually, employers will require a copy of the deceased’s death certificate before they will release any outstanding payments.

The executor or administrator should request that the outstanding wages be paid to the estate, not the deceased. Then, funds should be deposited in the estate bank account.

Other employee benefits that may be owed to the deceased include:

  • Commission
  • Bonuses
  • Expense reimbursement
  • Pension
  • Group life insurance
  • Retirement funds
  • Employee stock
  • Medical benefits

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Any final wages or benefits received by the estate will be taxable. The executor or administrator will need to keep a record of any income received and file taxes on behalf of the deceased and their estate.

Because the deceased and their estate are considered separate entities with their own tax obligations, both will need to file a separate tax return.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about submitting tax returns for the deceased and the state, review the Tasks “Submit tax returns for the deceased” and “Submit tax returns for the estate.

Helpful Tips


To: [Employer Representative Name] [Employer Name] [Employer Address] Subject: Death of [Name of Deceased]

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing this letter to let you know about [Name of Deceased]. [He/She] passed on [date of death]. Prior to [his/her] death on [date of death], they were an employee of [name of employer].

On [date of Letters Testamentary], I was appointed [Executor/Administrator] of [name of deceased]’s Estate. I’m writing to request any final wages or benefits due to [name of deceased] at their time of death. If wages or benefits are owed to [name of deceased], please make their final check out to the Estate of [name of deceased], as I will need to deposit the funds into the Estate’s bank account.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at [insert Executor’s contact information]. I’m happy to provide any documentation you may need.

Sincerely, [Full name of Executor] [Contact information for Executor] Encl. copy of death certificate Copy of Letters Testamentary

Personal Considerations


Was the deceased working at the time of their death?


Contact their employer and notify them who has been appointed executor or administrator of the estate.

They will need to communicate with the executor or administrator to pay final wages, benefits, or personal leave time owed to the deceased.

The executor or administrator should request an accounting of the money owed to the deceased and ensure any checks are paid to the estate of the deceased, not the deceased individually.

Any funds paid to the deceased’s estate should be deposited in the estate bank account.


Review the deceased’s personal records for information about their retirement or pension, if one exists. This information is often found in the deceased’s filing cabinet, a desk, or safe deposit box.

If the deceased was receiving retirement or pension payments from a former employer, the former employer should be contacted by the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.

Contact the retirement plan administrator of the former employer to make a claim for any remaining benefits.

The plan administrator will likely request a copy of the deceased’s death certificate. Ask for an accounting of the amount and form of benefits due.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant If payments are owed to the deceased, request that the check be made out to the estate of the deceased, not the deceased individually. Any funds paid to the deceased’s estate should be deposited in the estate bank account.


If the deceased was working at the time of their death:

Contact their employer and notify them who has been appointed executor or administrator of the estate.

They will need to communicate with the executor or administrator to pay final wages, benefits, or personal leave time owed to the deceased.

The executor or administrator should request an accounting of the money owed to the deceased and ensure any checks are paid to the estate of the deceased, not the deceased individually.

Any funds paid to the deceased’s estate should be deposited in the estate bank account.

If the deceased was not working at the time of their death:

Review the deceased’s personal records for information about their retirement or pension, if one exists. This information is often found in the deceased’s filing cabinet, a desk, or safe deposit box.

If the deceased was receiving retirement or pension payments from a former employer, the former employer should be contacted by the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.

Contact the retirement plan administrator of the former employer to make a claim for any remaining benefits.

The plan administrator will likely request a copy of the deceased’s death certificate. Ask for an accounting of the amount and form of benefits due.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant If payments are owed to the deceased, request that the check be made out to the estate of the deceased, not the deceased individually. Any funds paid to the deceased’s estate should be deposited in the estate bank account.


Was the deceased receiving retirement or pension payments from a former employer?


The executor or administrator should contact the retirement plan administrator of the former employer to make a claim for any remaining benefits.

The plan administrator will likely request a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.

Ask for an accounting of the amount and form of benefits due.

If payments are owed to the deceased, request that the check be made out to the estate of the deceased, not the deceased individually.

Any funds paid to the deceased’s estate should be deposited in the estate bank account.


There is nothing the executor or administrator needs to do.

Review the other questions in this section to determine if the deceased was owed final wages or other benefits.


If the deceased was receiving retirement of pension payments from a former employer:

The executor or administrator should contact the retirement plan administrator of the former employer to make a claim for any remaining benefits.

The plan administrator will likely request a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.

Ask for an accounting of the amount and form of benefits due.

If payments are owed to the deceased, request that the check be made out to the estate of the deceased, not the deceased individually.

Any funds paid to the deceased’s estate should be deposited in the estate bank account.

If the deceased was not receiving retirement of pension payments from a former employer:

There is nothing the executor or administrator needs to do.

Review the other questions in this section to determine if the deceased was owed final wages or other benefits.

Providers to Contact


Probate Attorneys Near You

Probate attorneys help settle a deceased person’s estate. They can help collect any assets, wages, or benefits owed to the deceased.

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Settle the Estate