When an employee dies, state law permits the employer to pay all wages or personal earnings due to the deceased employee to surviving family members without waiting for authorization from the probate court. The law requires that the payment be made in the following order of preference:
1. To the surviving spouse
2. To any one or more of the children 18 years of age or older
3. To the father or mother of the deceased employee
If the payment is more than $5,000, the employer must obtain an estate tax release before making the payment. Once the employer has paid, it is released from any future claim for the wages or earnings it has paid (OH Rev. Code Sec. 2113.04).