Understand the procedures and assistance available in the event of a death abroad. Get guidance on handling the situation effectively

Death abroad

Dealing with the death of a loved one is incredibly difficult, and it becomes even more complex when it occurs abroad. This article guides the necessary steps and arrangements to handle such a situation, detailing the responsibilities and important actions you must take to manage the process.

Death Reporting Process

When a Finnish national or resident dies abroad, Finnish missions abroad play a crucial role in reporting the incident. They usually receive information about the death from local authorities, travel agencies, Honorary Consuls, or funeral directors. The mission then quickly informs the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs about the death.

Key Responsibilities of Family Members

After learning about a death abroad, family members must work with their insurance company or a funeral director to organize the repatriation or burial. The deceased can be buried in the country where they died or transported back to Finland, either in a coffin or an urn.

Family members need to provide necessary documents such as an extract from the Population Information System to prove their relationship to the deceased or a power of attorney. Requirements can vary by country, and the Finnish mission can provide additional guidance on these matters.

Practical Matters Abroad

In addition to organizing repatriation, family members must take care of several practical issues when a loved one passes away abroad. These tasks include securing the deceased’s personal belongings, clearing out their residence, and handling financial matters like closing bank accounts.

Sometimes, it might be necessary for family members to hire a local agent or lawyer to help with settling the estate. Although staff at the mission cannot directly manage estate settlements, they can offer helpful advice on the services available to assist in these matters.

Role of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (DVV)

When a Finnish citizen dies abroad, it’s crucial to ensure their death is accurately recorded in the Finnish Population Information System. This task involves family members or the Finnish mission abroad notifying the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (DVV). The most effective way to meet this requirement is by coordinating with the local funeral director to secure an official death certificate, which must then be translated and legalized.

The DVV is officially informed about the death when the Finnish mission abroad, typically through a Chargé d’Affaires, submits the legalized death certificate, along with a certified translation if necessary.

Necessary Steps and Resources

When someone passes away, dealing with their estate involves specific steps. These include doing an estate inventory and understanding the taxes in Finland for inheritances from other countries. Family members can find important information on these processes through resources about Estate Inventory and Deed of Inventory and how Finnish taxes apply to foreign inheritances. These guides help in managing these complex tasks efficiently.

Managing Costs and Insurance

Determining who bears the financial responsibility is crucial. If the deceased had travel insurance, family members should promptly contact the insurance company. Typically, Finnish travel insurance covers repatriation costs or local burial expenses. The insurance company oversees the necessary arrangements.

In the absence of travel insurance, family members are accountable for all costs, including obtaining a death certificate and its translation and legalization. Repatriation to Finland can be financially burdensome, making it essential to explore available options.

If financial constraints arise, and the family or estate cannot cover repatriation or burial expenses, local burial arrangements will be made according to the laws of the foreign country.

Handling the complexities of a death abroad demands a structured approach and timely action. By understanding the responsibilities, legal processes, and financial aspects involved, family members can navigate this challenging situation with greater ease.

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