Brother Committed Suicide And Owes Me!

Question:

I have a dilemma. I worked for my brother and his wife for 10 yrs. The last two years that the business was open, my brother told me to keep track of my hours and still punch in and out on the time clock, and he would pay me what was owed to me. This was in 1999 and 2000. The amount owed is a little over $20,000.00. We didn’t write up anything because, he was my brother.

He closed his business down in 2001. He said that when he sold everything, I’d get my pay. Well, his wife went on another spending spree and no funds were left again. Dave said he’d make good on it; that it just might take awhile. Labor day of this year, my brother committed suicide.

My family really needs that money. Since there was no will, and the business was closed, (a corporation owned by him and his wife), what recourse do I have? Am I stuck feeling ashamed and used, or can I get the money? I was on the books and they used a payroll place, so there is plenty of proof that I worked there. Just that she has the time cards and I have my records, can I collect? Do I have any legal rights?

Signed,

At A Loss


Answer:

DearĀ At A Loss:

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to you. Now you must hang in there and find a way to go on not counting on your brother or getting your money back. However, that does not mean you should not try. After a death, one’s estate should pay for debts owed. We do not give legal advice, but it is clear that you should consult an attorney. Some of them offer a brief consultation for free, and then if you have a case, take it on a 25-30% contingency. If you like, keep us posted on what you learn and what works or does not. WEGO considers one’s own and other’s needs.

William Gorden