Unless an employer has notice that a probate procedure has already begun, it may pay any wages due to a deceased employee, up to an $800 maximum, to the following individuals upon request (in descending order of preference):
• Surviving spouse
• Children who are at least 18 years of age, in equal shares
• Father and mother, or survivor
• Sisters and brothers, or the person paying funeral expenses
(WV Stat. Sec. 21-5-8a) In order to protect itself from liability, the employer should require that the person or persons requesting the payment provide identification and give a receipt for the payment. Once the payment is made, the employer is relieved of any further obligation to the employee's estate for the amount paid.