Longietti bill to update Estate Code headed to governor's desk

HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – A bill that would make it easier for surviving relatives to receive a decedent's final paycheck is headed to the governor's desk after the House unanimously approved the bill today.

That bill (H.B. 203) was introduced by Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, to increase the amount an employer may pay directly to a surviving relative for a deceased family member's final paycheck from $5,000 to $10,000.

"This provision hasn't been updated in 21 years, so this legislation is badly needed to help family members receive what is rightfully theirs in a timely manner," Longietti said. "This money could help pay funeral costs or hospital bills, and any delay makes a difficult time even worse."

Under current law, any payout of wages and accumulated sick and vacation days over $5,000 must go through probate proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas and the check must be made payable to the estate of the deceased employee.

"The probate process takes significant time and uses up valuable court resources when it simply shouldn’t be necessary at that time," Longietti said. "Raising the limit from $5,000 to $10,000 will establish parity with the amount a bank can currently issue to the surviving relative from a bank account.

"I want to thank William J. Moder III, a local attorney, for bringing this issue to my attention," he said. "More and more people are finding themselves having to get the courts involved, just because that last paycheck was larger than normal due to unused sick and vacation days. It's only right that we do what we can to ensure the money is delivered in a timely, commonsense fashion."