What happens if a loved one dies abroad?

14th JULY 2022

If a relative of yours has died while abroad, there are several steps you need to take in registering the death and organising the funeral. These are relatively straightforward and we will walk you through them below.

For free initial advice call our advisors or request a callback and we will contact you.

Registering the death

You will need to register the death of your loved one in the country in which they died. To do this, you must research the rules of that country when it comes to registering a death. Generally, the first step will be to acquire a death certificate from a doctor or coroner local to that country.

After you have registered the death in the overseas country, you should also register it in the UK. This is not obligatory, but you will need to register the death locally if you plan on holding the funeral in England or Wales.

To register an overseas death in England or Wales, you will need to contact a Registry Office local to where your loved one lived. You will need the death certificate that you acquired from the country that your loved one died in. If the certificate is not written in English, a certified translation will be required.

Alongside the death certificate, the Registry Office will require some details about the deceased, including their full name at the time of their death, any previously used names, their date and place of birth, their last known address, their occupation, the full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner, and information on whether they were receiving a State Pension or any other benefits.

How to organise a funeral for an overseas death

If you intend to hold a funeral for your loved one in the UK but they died abroad, you will need to arrange for their body to be returned to the UK. To do so, you should notify the Registrar Office local to the area where the funeral will be taking place. The Registrar Office must provide you with a certificate that gives permission for a burial to take place. If you plan on cremating the body, you will also need to seek approval from the Home Office.

For free initial advice call our advisors or request a callback and we will contact you.