Question: One of our employees was involved in an accident believed to be fatal but the coroner has not yet recovered the body or issued a death certificate. Can we issue the employee’s final pay to his family?
Answer: We recommend waiting for legal confirmation of death prior to releasing anything, in order to minimize risk to the employer and ensure final pay and benefits are being administered correctly.
The employer should review any state laws regarding payment of outstanding wages upon the death of an employee as well as review any beneficiary documents for employee benefits. Employers subject to federal COBRA should offer continuation coverage to eligible dependents for up to 36 months.