When the death of a person is caused by some wrongful act, neglect or default which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages had that person not died, the person responsible may still be held liable for the losses caused by the wrongful acts. An action for damages may be brought against the person who committed the wrongful acts by the personal representative of the deceased for the benefit of the decedent's surviving spouse, children and parents, all of whom are presumed to have suffered damages by reason of the wrongful death. If there is no surviving spouse, nor surviving parents or children, the action may be brought for the benefit of the decedent's next of kin or nearest relatives.
The amount of recovery for loss due to wrongful death is not considered to be an estate asset and is not included as a part of the estate inventory. However, if damages are recovered by the personal representative, the court must approve the amount of the distributions to each of the beneficiaries entitled to compensation.