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How to Deal with a Loved One's Passing Overseas

International ShippingWhat happens when a person dies in a foreign country, or when the family of that person wishes to hold the funeral in a different land altogether? This is becoming more common in the world now. Ours is a world "on the go," with many Americans now hailing from different countries, and many native-born Americans choosing to retire or relocate abroad.

Regardless of the specific circumstances, this can lead to some significant complications in preparing and shipping a body internationally. International funeral shipping providers exist for this very reason - professionals whose sole job is to help families get their deceased loved ones back to the nation where funeral services are planned.

The most difficult part of these preparations is getting the paperwork together. What makes it difficult is that all countries have different requirements for the paperwork needed. The most cautious approach is to call the foreign embassy or consulate to ask which documents will be required.

A good starting point includes the death certificate, burial/transit papers, the deceased's passport, and a letter from the funeral home assuring that only human remains are in the casket. This letter should be on funeral home letterhead. Notes from the coroner or medical examiner, ensuring no contagious disease is present, will also help.

Of course there are also tremendous costs to consider, as shipping a casket and a body can add up. A way around this cost is to have the body cremated and then simply transport the cremated remains, which will require a fraction of the cost.  However, should you choose to ship the body, note that only certain airlines provide this type of transport, and in many cases special burial containers or vaults are also required.

Above all, ensure that you are working with funeral professionals in both countries to help ensure a smooth, expedited delivery of the loved one's body. They are knowledgeable and have the resources you will need to facilitate a transfer like this.


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