Adelphi, MD cremations

Death Abroad: Understanding Repatriation Services

Before Adelphi, MD cremations, when a loved one is traveling overseas, either for business or pleasure and they suddenly die, it can seem as though a million things need to be attended to, even in the midst of grief and shock over losing them.

As easy as it may be to get temporarily paralyzed when a shocking event like the sudden death of someone you love when the death occurs international, time is of the essence. Body repatriation (bring a body from a foreign country back to the United States) requires that a large amount of paperwork and procedures need to be filed or executed as quickly as possible.

The first things that happen when a loved one dies in a foreign country are that the local embassy contacts the State Department when then notifies the closest relatives of the death. The clock begins to tick at this point.

You need to contact the funeral home to assist you from this point on with repatriation services. The first thing the funeral home will do is to execute a “Next-of-Kin Affidavit,” and they will provide a signed “Letter of Instruction” that contains the details of how the body should be repatriated.

If the foreign officials are experiencing difficulty in confirming the identity of the deceased (death may have been a horrible car accident, a fire, or a boating accident where the body is not found right away), the deceased’s family may be asked to provide dental or medical records for the deceased. Because the process for repatriation of a body is different from country to country, the body must be handled according to the laws of the nation where the death happened.

In general, there are three options to choose from for international repatriation services.

The first option includes preparing the body by embalming it and returning it to the United States. A local funeral home in the country where the death took places will handle the embalming process and then have the body shipped back to America. Because many international embalming procedures are not done with the strict standards and regulations required in the United States, a viewing (or visitation) of the body is discouraged.

The second option for international repatriations is to have the body cremation in the country where the death occurred. Most countries, except those that are predominantly Catholic or Muslim, have an abundance of funeral homes that offer cremation. In countries where religious beliefs frown on cremation, there will be a much-limited choice of funeral homes that will offer cremation. The body may have to be transported to another location within the country to have the cremation done.

The third option is having the body buried locally in the nation where the death happened. This is, obviously, probably the least-favored option, but it may be the one that works best for the family. If the country allows foreign nationals to be buried there, then a local burial can be done. The family will work with the local embassy, which will make all the arrangements.

A footnote to international repatriations is that if the deceased is a victim of a crime, the local authorities will investigate, which will likely cause a delay in the body being transported back to the United States. Most of the time, an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

If you’d like to know more about repatriation services before Adelphi, MD cremations, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.