What happens if I die abroad but want my body returned to the UK?

What happens if I die abroad but want my body returned to the UK?

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Predicting the place, date and time of our death is near on impossible and so it is not unusual for a death to take place outside of the UK and needing the body to be returned for the Funeral and Burial or Cremation.

COSTS are a top concern when trying to get a body returned to the UK, following a death, and in some circumstances this may be covered by travel insurance but in other cases you may well be responsible for paying this. These costs can be extremely expensive and so when using a repatriation service it is very important to have an itemised quotation of exactly what services are included for what you are paying.

Practically though, what steps do you need to take?

You will need to obtain a Death Certificate for the individual from the country in which the death occurred and this will also need to be accompanied by a certified English translation (the British Consulate can assist with this). You will also require a certificate of embalming and permission to remove the deceased’s body from the country of death, again, the British Consulate will be able to assist with this.

The embalming certificate will need to confirm that the correct process has taken place and that the body has been embalmed and placed in a zinc-lined coffin ready for transportation back to the UK.

You may also find it useful to register the death with the British Consulate in the country where the death occurred and a UK Death Certificate may be obtained however, there may be an additional charge for this and this is not compulsory where you can obtain a certified English translation of the original Death Certificate.

Once you have all of the necessary paperwork and documentation you can then make arrangements for the body to be returned to the UK and again, the British consulate can advise as to Funeral Directors that can assist with this.

You will still need to contract the Register Office in the area that the funeral is taking place and confirm that the death has been registered abroad. You will then obtain a Certificate of no liability to register allowing the Funeral to proceed.

Alternatively, you may wish for a cremation to take place in the country that the death occurred in and for your ashes to be returned to the UK. This is possible, however, each country has their own rules in relation to transporting human ashes out of their country and so it is important to obtain advice from the British Consulate for that country in order that you can adhere to these.

If the cause of death was unknown then the Coroner may be involved and will hold an Inquest in the UK. However, it will not be possible to have the body cremated abroad where the cause of death is unknown and where an inquest is required upon return to the UK.

If you have any questions or would like to consider planning for your future, by putting a Will, Lasting Power of Attorney or a Funeral Plan in place, please call us on 01727 865121 or drop us an email Info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk

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Leah Waller

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