What to Do When a Loved One has Died Abroad

27 February 2017

If the death of a British National occurs outside of England or Wales you must first register the death following the rules of that country. Usually this will start by arranging to get a death certificate from a local doctor or coroner of that country.

For assistance on how to register a death in that country report the death to the British Consul or local British embassy. You can find a British Embassy or Consulate on the HM Government website. In some circumstances, the British Consul will be able to arrange for the death to be registered in England and Wales.

After the death has been registered abroad, you may want to also register your loved one's death at the Register Office that is nearest to where they lived. This is optional, although if the funeral is to take place in England or Wales, the death will need to be registered with the nearest Register Office.

If the deceased person was getting a pension or other benefits abroad you should contact the International Pension Centre.

How to Register an Overseas Death in England and Wales

To register a death which occurred outside of the UK, in England and Wales, you will need to obtain a death certificate provided by the country where they died. A certified translation of the death certificate will be required if it is not in English. You can then register the death with a local Registry, which will enable the death to be recorded with the Register Office.

As part of the registration process you will need to tell the Registrar:

  • The deceased person's full name at the time of death
  • Any other names previously used, e.g. their maiden name
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their last address
  • Their occupation
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner
  • Whether they were getting a State Pension or any other benefits.

How to Arrange a Funeral for a Death that Occurred Abroad

If you are intending to have a funeral in the UK and the body needs to be returned to the UK, the Registrar Office of the district where the funeral is to take place must be notified. This will allow them to issue a certificate before burial can take place. If there is to be a cremation, the Home Office will also need to give permission.

At Co-op Legal Services our Probate Solicitors and specialists work together with Co-op Funeralcare to provide you with specialist legal advice and to assist you with funeral arrangements after the death of a loved one.

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