An employee may designate a beneficiary to receive payment for any wages or salary due at the time of the employee's death. The law encourages employers to inform employees of this right when employees are hired. If there is no such designation by an employee, employers are authorized by law to pay a deceased employee's wages of not more than $10,000 directly to the surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, to the deceased employee's children. Wages of $10,000 or more must be paid to an executor or administrator or as otherwise ordered by the court of probate (TN Stat. Sec. 30-2-103). Employers that are unsure of their legal responsibilities should contact the local court of probate for instructions.