What to do when a UK expats dies abroad

Published:  6 Oct at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
With retiring outside the home country becoming ever more popular, it’s common sense to be aware of protocols needing to be followed when a UK citizen dies abroad.

Death isn’t considered a suitable topic of conversation for many, including elderly expats, but according to the old saying it’s as inevitable and unavoidable as income tax. At least for the sake of their friends and families, older expats should at least leave a list of must-dos in the event of their demise. After all, there are only two options to be decided, cremation or burial in their chosen country or a British funeral or cremation after repatriation.

It should be understood that cremations or burials overseas aren’t practical in some locations due to legal as well as cultural reasons but, wherever an expat dies, the first task is to register the death with the local authority. If it occurred in a hospital, it should be reasonably straightforward to locate the details of the relevant authority. Otherwise, calling the deceased’s embassy or consulate should produce the required information.

It’s not possible to remove the body until a local death certificate has been provided, Again, overseas hospitals will usually present one, although if it’s in a foreign language, a certified translation will be needed. Should it not be possible to locate the deceased’s passport, a full UK birth certificate or documents proving naturalisation or registration are acceptable. All documentation goes to the Foreign Office along with the death registration form. The cost of filing and return postage is around £225.

The Foreign Office must issue a reference number once fees have been paid, and all documentation should then be sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Milton Keynes. Registration of the death will take around three days. Repatriation of a body for UK burial or cremation is a costly business requiring an international undertaker and a specially-booked flight. The deceased’s life insurance, if any, could possibly be claimed against for repatriation and funeral costs, otherwise the deceased’s estate must pay upfront for all services.

It’s possible that many older expats may have lost touch with friends and family in the UK, and would prefer to be cremated or buried in their country of residence. It’s worth noting that many popular retirement destinations overseas have Christian cemeteries for the use of the expat community, although many are smaller than is needed to serve the entire community in the area.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive