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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

After notice of underpayment issued: worker dies after a notice of underpayment has been issued

When a worker dies, their estate is entitled to receive any national minimum wage arrears due to them. When you are notified that a worker has died, make discrete enquiries to confirm the date of death and establish whether a personal representative is acting on behalf of the deceased. If a will has been left by the deceased, the personal representative will usually be an Executor named in the will.

If the deceased has no will, in some cases the Court will appoint an Administrator (in Scotland an Executor) to deal with the deceased’s affairs. It may be possible to verify some details regarding the worker’s death (ie:- date of death, name of personal representative) from HM Revenue & Customs’ systems or to obtain information about these matters from the employer, or their agent.

If a personal representative or next of kin for the deceased worker cannot be traced the deceased’s arrears remain outstanding. The NMW Officer should inform the employer that should the personal representative be traced the arrears should be paid to them within 28 days.

Where a person dies intestate i.e. there is no will and no next of kin the estate can pass to the Crown. In these cases, no further action is required.

Personal Representative Traced

When the deceased worker’s personal representative is traced, correspond tactfully with the personal representative to confirm the deceased’s date of death. Tell them that you are corresponding with them because they are the personal representative of the deceased and advise them about the arrears owed to the deceased worker. Refer to the deceased by name, for example, Mr John Smith (deceased).

Take care to address any correspondence directly to the personal representative and not to the deceased worker. Do not show the deceased worker’s name or former address in the address area of letters or forms you are issuing. Obtain the personal representatives’ contact details and ask them for permission to pass their contact details to the employer so that the arrears can be paid to the deceased’s estate.

If the personal representative gives permission for their contact details to be passed to the employer, you should write and advise the employer to pay the personal representative the deceased worker’s arrears within 28 days. Send a copy of that letter to the personal representative with a covering letter asking them to confirm that the arrears are paid and the date they are paid.

If the personal representative does not give permission for their contact details to be forwarded to the employer, ask the employer to send a cheque for the deceased worker’s arrears to HM Revenue & Customs within 28 days, made out in the personal representative’s name. On receipt of the cheque, forward it to the personal representative with a suitable covering letter.