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California Probate Code 13600 – REVISED LAW

This is the last law update for the week. This covers the last law changed by AB 1305.  California probate code 13600 deals with last salary of a decedent (including vacation pay). It should be paid to the surviving spouse without the surviving spouse having to go to probate Court to get Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary.  The amount has been changed from $5,000 to $15,000 with AB 1305. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2012.

I hope you find this helpful.

-John

 

13600.  (a) At any time after a husband or wife dies, the surviving
spouse or the guardian or conservator of the estate of the surviving
spouse may, without procuring letters of administration or awaiting
probate of the will, collect salary or other compensation owed by an
employer for personal services of the deceased spouse, including
compensation for unused vacation, not in excess of five thousand
dollars ($5,000) net.
(b) Not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) net in the
aggregate may be collected by or for the surviving spouse under this
chapter from all of the employers of the decedent.
(c) For the purposes of this chapter, a guardian or conservator of
the estate of the surviving spouse may act on behalf of the
surviving spouse without authorization or approval of the court in
which the guardianship or conservatorship proceeding is pending.
(d) The five thousand dollar ($5,000) net limitation set forth in
subdivisions (a) and (b) does not apply to the surviving spouse or
the guardian or conservator of the estate of the surviving spouse of
a firefighter or peace officer described in subdivision (a) of
Section 22820 of the Government Code.
(e) On January 1, 2003, and on January 1 of each year thereafter,
the maximum net amount of salary or compensation payable under
subdivisions (a) and (b) to the surviving spouse or the guardian or
conservator of the estate of the surviving spouse may be adjusted to
reflect any increase in the cost of living occurring after January 1
of the immediately preceding year. The United States city average of
the “Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers,” as published by
the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, shall be used as the
basis for determining the changes in the cost of living. The
cost-of-living increase shall equal or exceed 1 percent before any
adjustment is made. The net amount payable may not be decreased as a
result of the cost-of-living adjustment.

13601.  (a) To collect salary or other compensation under this
chapter, an affidavit or a declaration under penalty of perjury under
the laws of this state shall be furnished to the employer of the
deceased spouse stating all of the following:
(1) The name of the decedent.
(2) The date and place of the decedent’s death.
(3) Either of the following, as appropriate:
(A) “The affiant or declarant is the surviving spouse of the
decedent.”
(B) “The affiant or declarant is the guardian or conservator of
the estate of the surviving spouse of the decedent.”
(4) “The surviving spouse of the decedent is entitled to the
earnings of the decedent under the decedent’s will or by intestate
succession and no one else has a superior right to the earnings.”
(5) “No proceeding is now being or has been conducted in
California for administration of the decedent’s estate.”
(6) “Sections 13600 to 13605, inclusive, of the California Probate
Code require that the earnings of the decedent, including
compensation for unused vacation, not in excess of five thousand
dollars ($5,000) net, be paid promptly to the affiant or declarant.”
(7) “Neither the surviving spouse, nor anyone acting on behalf of
the surviving spouse, has a pending request to collect compensation
owed by another employer for personal services of the decedent under
Sections 13600 to 13605, inclusive, of the California Probate Code.”
(8) “Neither the surviving spouse, nor anyone acting on behalf of
the surviving spouse, has collected any compensation owed by an
employer for personal services of the decedent under Sections 13600
to 13605, inclusive, of the California Probate Code except the sum of
____ dollars ($____) which was collected from ____.”
(9) “The affiant or declarant requests that he or she be paid the
salary or other compensation owed by you for personal services of the
decedent, including compensation for unused vacation, not to exceed
five thousand dollars ($5,000) net, less the amount of ____ dollars
($____) which was previously collected.”
(10) “The affiant or declarant affirms or declares under penalty
of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the
foregoing is true and correct.”
(b) Reasonable proof of the identity of the surviving spouse shall
be provided to the employer. If a guardian or conservator is acting
for the surviving spouse, reasonable proof of the identity of the
guardian or conservator shall also be provided to the employer. Proof
of identity that is sufficient under Section 13104 is sufficient
proof of identity for the purposes of this subdivision.
(c) If a person presenting the affidavit or declaration is a
person claiming to be the guardian or conservator of the estate of
the surviving spouse, the employer shall be provided with reasonable
proof, satisfactory to the employer, of the appointment of the person
to act as guardian or conservator of the estate of the surviving
spouse.

13602.  If the requirements of Section 13600 are satisfied, the
employer to whom the affidavit or declaration is presented shall
promptly pay the earnings of the decedent, including compensation for
unused vacation, not in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000)
net, to the person presenting the affidavit or declaration.

13603.  If the requirements of Section 13601 are satisfied, receipt
by the employer of the affidavit or declaration constitutes
sufficient acquittance for the compensation paid pursuant to this
chapter and discharges the employer from any further liability with
respect to the compensation paid. The employer may rely in good faith
on the statements in the affidavit or declaration and has no duty to
inquire into the truth of any statement in the affidavit or
declaration.

13604.  (a) If the employer refuses to pay as required by this
chapter, the surviving spouse may recover the amount the surviving
spouse is entitled to receive under this chapter in an action brought
for that purpose against the employer.
(b) If an action is brought against the employer under this
section, the court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees to the
surviving spouse if the court finds that the employer acted
unreasonably in refusing to pay as required by this chapter.

13605.  (a) Nothing in this chapter limits the rights of the heirs
or devisees of the deceased spouse. Payment of a decedent’s
compensation pursuant to this chapter does not preclude later
proceedings for administration of the decedent’s estate.
(b) Any person to whom payment is made under this chapter is
answerable and accountable therefor to the personal representative of
the decedent’s estate and is liable for the amount of the payment to
any other person having a superior right to the payment received. In
addition to any other liability the person has under this section, a
person who fraudulently secures a payment under this chapter is
liable to a person having a superior right to the payment for three
times the amount of the payment.

13606.  The procedure provided in this chapter is in addition to,
and not in lieu of, any other method of collecting compensation owed
to a decedent.

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10.0John Bernard Palley
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