The money, leave time, and benefits that your spouse earned but did not receive before death should not be lost. Your spouse worked for that income, and the employer should not keep it.
Louisiana Law Regarding Last Wages
Income earned but not received before death is addressed in LA Rev Stat §9:1515. It explains who gets the money and how.
Who Gets the Money
The law allows the employer to provide the wages and other benefits to the deceased employee’s surviving spouse unless divorce proceedings were initiated before death. If there is not a surviving spouse or if divorce proceedings were pending at the time of death, the employer may pay wages and other benefits to any child of the decedent who is 18 years of age or older.
How to Get the Money
The employer cannot provide wages and benefits automatically to the surviving spouse or adult child. Instead, before paying the spouse or adult child who is requesting the payment, the employer must require the person making the request to execute a document. The document must be signed by two witnesses and include:
- The name, address, date of death, and place of death of the deceased employee
- The relationship of the person requesting the payment to the deceased employee
- The name and address of the surviving spouse and any surviving children
- Any other information the employer requests
With a document that has the required information and is executed before two witnesses, the employer may issue the wages and benefits from the last paycheck without any court proceedings or judgments.
If outstanding wages are issued in this way, it is not the employer’s responsibility to determine whether the wages are separate property or community property or whether inheritance taxes are due. However, it is the employer’s responsibility to forward an affidavit that contains the name of the decedent, the amount paid, the name of the recipient. and a copy of the release document to the secretary of the Department of Revenue within 10 calendar days of releasing the money.
If You Have Questions About Your Spouse’s Estate
Louisiana spouses do not have the same rights to inheritance as spouses in other states. To make sure that you are treated fairly and get all of the property to which you are legally entitled, we encourage you to contact our Louisiana succession lawyers today. You can reach us by phone, or through our online contact form to have us contact you.