It’s everyone’s worst nightmare – a loved one dying abroad. You worry about all sorts of things going wrong, especially if it’s your senior parents.
When you pass away in Canada, it’s fairly straight forward. You follow the process,by calling a funeral home, the police or an ambulance. Loved ones claim the body, and handle the remains according to their wishes or religious or cultural norms.
However, it gets a lot more complicated when someone dies in another country.
Dying Abroad: What Canadians need to Know
The Government of Canada has a helpful webpage dedicated to helping families and loved ones navigate the complexities of dealing with someone’s death in another country. It can be particularly hard if you don’t speak the language of that nation and they have unfamiliar rules and customs.
Here are some of the points from the government webpage summarized:
The person making the big decisions should have access to the decease’s will and has power of attorney. This would be done at home in Canada or they could travel abroad to deal with local officials.
If the deceased had travel insurance, contact the provider as soon as possible.
Contact a funeral home in the country where the death occurred. Because even if you want to repatriate the body, you need a funeral home or cremation centre to prepare the remains. Find out if there is a funeral home that’s familiar with international deaths.
Cancel the deceased’s government benefits and return their passport to the Canadian government
Do your best to communicate with officials in the country where the the death occurred. Be patient, as things are done differently in other countries.
Get the death certificate from the country where the death occurred. The local funeral home might be able to obtain that for you.
If the death certificate is written in another language, it must be translated. Seek out an professional translation service. Also get several copies!
To repatriate remains – either as cremains or a body – you will need some certificates and documents in order to bring your loved one back to Canada for burial.
If you have more questions, you can always call us at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home and Cremation Centre. Our staff can walk you through the process or refer you to an expert.