UncategorisedWhat Should I Do if a Family Member Dies Abroad?

27th April 2021

Should a loved one die abroad, the fact that they are overseas can add to your stress, compounding the tragedy. However, provided you know what is required, the process of dealing with the situation can be relatively straight forward. Furthermore, there will be help at hand, from a variety of avenues, to help with the process of registering the death and repatriating your loved one.

Below are the steps that we recommend you take:

  1. Get in touch with the British Embassy (or High Commission / Consulate) as well as letting the local Police and your family, back home, know.
  2. If you are staying in accommodation that you have booked directly, you will need to not only contact your family back home, but also, the local Police and the British Embassy / Consulate.
  3. If you are not abroad with your loved one, when they pass, the British Embassy / Consulate is legally obligated to let you know; they might do this directly OR ask their local Police to contact you.
  4. You must then register the death in the country where they passed away. PLEASE NOTE – if your loved one died whilst on a ship or a plane, the death must be registered in the country where that plane or ship is registered and NOT where the ship or plane was, at the time of the death.
  5. You then need to obtain an English translation of the Death Certificate.
  6. Inform your local coroner at home. If the death was unexpected, sudden, violent or unnatural an investigation will need to take place. This will involve communication between coroners, Police and authorities – home and abroad. This is a process undertaken on you and your familiy’s behalf of which, you will be kept informed.
  7. Find out if your loved one had any ‘Body Repatriation Cover;’ if they have, this can usually be found within their travel insurance documentation. This is certainly worth finding out since repatriation of a body can be a costly process. If not, find out the costs and ask for documentation detailing all such financial matters. This could possibly be claimed from the deceased’s estate at a later point.
  8. Once the coroner abroad is happy to release your loved one’s body, you can then repatriate their body. Once again, The British Embassy / Consulate will advise on this.
  9. Upon the arrival of your loved one’s body in the UK, you inform your local coroner. You must also take the Death Certificate Translation to the Register Office that’s located in the area / parish of where you would like the funeral to be conducted.

After doing all this, the process is very much as if your loved one had passed away in the UK. The death will be confirmed by your local coroner and the body will be moved to the mortuary or the Funeral Director.

You will need to organise several copies of the Death Certificate to deal with your loved one’s financial affairs and to close accounts. Other certificates, to allow for burial or cremation as well as state pensions and benefits (if relevant), will also need to be obtained from your local Register Office.

Finally, your loved ones Will needs to be located and the Wills executers notified. This will give you a greater degree of clarity, regarding funeral arrangements and how their estate should be dealt with.

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