When a death occurs overseas, it can add a number of complications to what is already a difficult time. It is important to contact us as soon as possible for advice and assistance on the options available to you, as well as to discuss anything specific to the situation. In general, when someone dies overseas you have two basic options:
- bring the person home to New Zealand,
- or carry out funeral arrangements in the country where the death has occurred.
In either event, a funeral director or the local equivalent in the other country will need to be engaged to assist. Depending on where the death has occurred we may be able to recommend who to use in the other country based on past experience.
If not, there may be family or friends with the deceased in the foreign country that will make the necessary funeral arrangements.
Another good source of information about what happens in this situation, in other countries, is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
When dealing with an overseas death, the key is patience. Other countries have different processes to follow than we do here in New Zealand – even countries similar to ours. This process may appear as though it is taking a long time to happen.
When the intention is to bring the deceased home to New Zealand, it would be wise not to set a day and time for the funeral until the arrival details into the country are known with certainty. It is also wise to allow enough time for airline delays, and for the possibility of viewing and other formalities in New Zealand before the funeral.
The death is registered in the country where the death occurred.