When a death occurs away from home, it is most likely sudden and unexpected. Besides dealing with a highly traumatic experience, many family members will also feel overwhelmed by the arrangements and planning that are ahead – once you make it back home. It can be especially disorienting if you are unsure of what you should and shouldn’t do. Here are three things to remember should you be faced with a loved one’s death away from home.
1. Don’t Leave the Body
If you are with your loved one when they pass, you should not leave the body until you have been cleared to do so by all authorities. Sudden deaths must always undergo investigations by a medical examiner and the police. If you stay put and allow the process to take place, you will ensure that there isn’t any undue delay and, of course, cooperating with authorities is essential to proper procedure.
2. Don’t Travel to the Body
If you are not traveling with your loved one at the time of their death, there is no need to make the trip to get the body. With today’s electronic capabilities, it is usually possible to make any necessary identifications remotely. What’s more, traveling will likely only slow the process of transporting the body and making arrangements. In such a case, your best option is to reach out to a funeral home near you (not the body) and employ a knowledgeable funeral director to help you with the arrangements. Regardless of where the body is located, a funeral home employee will know how to handle transport and will make sure that everything is done in a timely and efficient manner. Typically, there are not many additional costs involved in this process. However, any charges that are incurred for transportation will ultimately be included in your funeral service fees, so there is no need to worry about finding and paying multiple invoices.
3. Report to a US Embassy If Death is International
This one is pretty straightforward: if the death occurs overseas, you should let the local U.S. Embassy know what has happened. Again, this will serve in expediting any required bureaucratic processes and allow you to make your own plans, as necessary.
These three simple steps should eliminate most of your worries about proper procedure. Whenever a death occurs, whether it is at home or at a distance, any help or support is appreciated—keeping that in mind, let your funeral home do the paperwork and arrangements for you while you focus on your needs, and those of your family.