Some states offer death benefits through workers’ compensation programs upon a death from work-related injuries or illnesses. This payout is often given in a lump sum to the surviving spouse or children. When people die suddenly, it’s not uncommon for their estate to go into probate or for family members to fight over the remaining assets. If your remaining workers’ compensation payouts get tied up in probate, your immediate family members may struggle until it’s settled.
Does workers’ compensation pay out in the event of your death?
Under most circumstances, your normal workers’ compensation benefits will stop upon your death. However, if you die as a result of the injuries or illnesses obtained at your workplace and were receiving workers’ compensation benefits at the time of your death, your family may still be eligible to receive benefits.
This depends a lot on the state and the specific case. Many states have death benefits that pay out from workers’ compensation. In these cases, the death benefits would pay out to any dependents, including your spouse and children.
Why should you include death benefits in your estate planning?
You don’t get to pick where your death benefits go unless you work with an estate planning lawyer. If you don’t have an estate plan in place, your family could end up fighting over the death benefits, or the funds could get tied up in probate court.
Estate planning in general is necessary to avoid family conflicts, unclaimed assets or lengthy courtroom battles after your death. Estate planning also ensures that your loved ones who wouldn’t have any legal claim to your death benefits or inheritance, such as unmarried partners or stepchildren, receive the benefits owed to them.
It can be hard to plan for death benefits because work-related death or injury could be sudden. However, if you and your family members want protection should your workplace injuries result in death, it’s crucial to start estate planning right away.