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What to Do When Someone Dies Abroad

Category: What To Do When Someone Dies

Dealing with the passing of a loved one can be an extremely difficult time. Not only are you trying to manage your own thoughts, feelings and personal journey of grief, but you may also play a hand in managing the processes that follow.

And such an already challenging period can be made that much more distressing if the death of the person takes place abroad. Receiving a phone call of this nature will be incredibly hard to hear. And you will understandably have questions around what to in the event and what processes you must undertake in order to manage this.

If you’re wondering what to do when someone dies abroad, this guide is here to help you get the answers to those pressing questions you may have, and also to help you understand just what needs to be done in the event of a death abroad, in order to help take away some of the stress.
If the death takes place in a different country while you’re at home and the death has already been reported to the British Consulate in that country, you should expect to hear from the police. These will be the ones asked to notify the next of kin.

Hearing about the death

There may also be instances where you hear of the death from somebody else. This will often be a tour organiser. In cases such as these, you should reach out to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The British Consulate will inform the families as well as the Consulate abroad and will also be able to help in the following ways:

Registering the death

  • Keeping you informed

  • Able to advise on the cost of a burial, cremation and transportation back to the UK

  • Offering contact information of local funeral directors

  • Assisting in the transfer of funds to help with any costs states that you must register a death with the local authorities in the country where the person died. But there are also some countries where you can register the death with the UK authorities.

The British Consulate should be able to help you with this entire processes and the necessary questions you will have.

If the person who has passed away was receiving a pension or any other benefits whilst they were abroad, speak to the International Pension Centre for helpful assistance.
Organising to have the body brought back home can make an already difficult time that much more distressing. And as you would likely expect, before the body of your loved one can be bought home, there are a few things you will need to organise beforehand.

Bringing the body home

These are:
Of course, there can be different rules depending on the country, so it’s best to ask for any advice directly from the British consulate, embassy or high commission in the country where your loved one has died.
If you are seeking to carry out a cremation of your loved one abroad, there is no standard cost, but it could be expensive in those countries where cremation is not something commonly undertaken.

  • To obtain a certified English translation of the death certificate

  • To gain permission to remove the body, issued by a coroner (or equivalent) in the country where the person died

  • To tell a coroner in England if the death was violent or unnatural

Bringing the ashes home

If you are leaving a country where someone has died and are taking the ashes with you, you will most likely need to be in possession of the death certificate as well as the certificate of cremation. It may not be necessary to show these but it’s always best to be on the safe side in any situation such as this. It will help to make it a little easier for you.

Again, each country will dictate its own rules and regulations about leaving with a loved one’s ashes, with the potential for further requirements, so ensure to contact the British consulate, embassy or high commission for the particular country and they will help to guide you through the journey.