Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Death, The Expat and How to Prepare

Are we ever ready to say goodbye to a loved one? The reality is that without careful planning, death can become complicated and eclipse the mourning period. Grief turns to anxiety when the person that can answer simple questions - the where, why, how and what - are no longer around to help. Don't let this happen to you or your family.

There are two different scenarios that can occur. As an expat you need to consider the family that you have left behind in your Home Country as well as your immediate family in your Host Country and whether you know what their death requirements are.

Firstly, as an expat you can never predict when your next journey home will be, especially when you have a loved one at death's door. Although you cannot know when to be at your parent or loved-one's deathbed, what you can prepare for is the inevitability of death and being organized for any situation. In many circumstances the partner left behind is overwhelmed with grief and cannot cope, if plans have been made before hand it helps to determine and follow through with their death wishes. A course of action has been outlined for both scenarios - the death of a loved one back at home and in your host country.


1. When the person has passed on, a doctor or emergency service should be contacted immediately.
2. A letter pronouncing the death should be completed by one of the above.
3. The coroner or funeral home/parlour should be contacted to collect the body.
4. Arrangements can then be made with the funeral parlour with regards completing official forms.
5. The funeral parlour should be able to complete and hand in any official forms on your behalf e.g. Lodging the Death Certificate with the relevant State/Government Department, as well as the certification of Identity Documents and Death Certificates.
6. Certified Copies of the Identity documents, Passports and Death Certificate should be kept in a safe place. These may be required to close personal accounts.
7. In the case of a parent passing on the below form should be filled in for a course of action to be followed by surviving family members. This document should be distributed to relevant individuals and kept in a safe place. Delete all areas that are irrelevant for your family member.


Personal Details:
Full Name:_______________________________________________________
ID Number:______________________________________________________
Passport Number:__________________________________________________

Essential Friends, relatives, neighbors and colleagues to be contacted in the event of my death:  
include Name, Relationship and Contact Details

Where I have placed my Will:_________________________________________
Where I keep my ID book:___________________________________________
Organ Donor:_____________________ Living Will:______________________

Guardianship of my children:_________________________________________
(if applicable)

My pets need:_____________________________________________________

Funeral Details:
Place of worship:__________________________________________________
Requests regarding burial / cremation and scattering of ashes:_______________
Preferred funeral arrangements:_______________________________________

Payment options for funeral:
Burial Scheme / Funeral Policy:_______________________________________

Financial Details:
Income tax number:________________________________________________

Employment / Sources of income details:
Company policies:_________________________________________________
Company benefits:_________________________________________________

Bank account, Insurance, Investments, Policies, Pension Funds, Unit Trusts, Loans, Shares, and Off Shore Assets.
Account number:_________________________________________________
Type of account:__________________________________________________
Account details:__________________________________________________

Accounts to be paid up and closed: Name, Account Details, Account Number and Contact Details.
Consider Doctors, Dentist, Pharmacy, Credit Card, Clothing, Telephone, Mobile Phone, Pay TV, Security, etc.

Ownership Documents:
Car Lease:________________________________________________________

Residential Property:  
Property Number, Deed in the name of, Bank, Contact Details, and Mortgage Account Number

If bonded the bank will hold the deed if not state where the title deed is kept:
Mortgage / Life Insurance
Policy Number:__________________________________________________

Details of Rates and Taxes Account / Body Corporate / Managing Agents:
Account number:__________________________________________________

Details of Timeshare:
Ref / Account number:______________________________________________
RCI / Other:______________________________________________________

Medical Insurance:
Name of Medical Insurance:_________________________________________
Account / Ref Number:_____________________________________________

Details of Executor:
Name of Institution:________________________________________________
Name of Person:___________________________________________________
If person state ID number:___________________________________________
If Institution state Account / Ref Number:_______________________________

Details of Administrator of Trust:
Details of Trustee:__________________________________________________
Contact Details:____________________________________________________

Housekeeper employees details, contract, UIF/Social Security etc:
Full name:_______________________________________________________
ID Number:______________________________________________________
UIF/Social Security Number:________________________________________
Other Details:____________________________________________________

Details of Firearms, locations of licences and access to safe:

Computer logins: Account, Login, Password, Other. Examples are Email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
Note any other items that have not been mentioned on this list, e.g. details of CC, Partnership agreements, ante nuptial contracts, divorce agreements, hiring or letting contracts, safe keys / combinations, passwords for computer, where the gold is buried, etc

YOUR NAME                             WITNESS 1                              WITNESS 2
Name:_____________________ Name:____________________ Name:_______________
Signature:__________________ Signature:_________________ Signature:______________
Date:______________________ Date:_____________________ Date:_________________


1. Register every member of your family with your HOME country Embassy, in your HOST country. Most embassies require the following information:
- Person's Name, Date and Place of Birth, Passport Number, Visa or Work Permit Number and the Contact Details for each family member,
- The Full name and address of Next of Kin,
- On the death of a family member they would require Date and Place of Death, Cause of Death, and the Location of the Remains.
2. Your embassy will assist you in the event of a death of a family member in your Host country and will be the source of any required information with regards processes to be followed.
3. Be proactive and contact your embassy to find out all relevant processes to follow in cases of death; natural disasters; and evacuation processes during conflicts.
4. When a person has passed away contact your embassy, as well as the police, a doctor or emergency services. Find out who the relevant people are to contact via your embassy.
5. A medical officer or doctor will have to pronounce the person as deceased, they will issue a medical record stating that the death was of natural causes and that nothing suspicious occurred.
6. The coroner, funeral home/parlor or police ambulance should be contacted to collect the body. The remains will be handled in accordance with the laws of and facilities available in your host country.
7. If the remains are to be shipped to your Home country, it would be necessary to embalm or cremate the body. Check the local requirements and customs allowed within your Host country. Certain Muslim countries will not allow non-Muslim's to be cremated within the country, and special arrangements would be required to ensure that customary procedures of your Home Country are followed. Once again your embassy should have this information.
8. Find out the legal requirements with regards the remains and follow these in accordance with the persons wishes.
9. The official funeral director should be able to complete and hand in any official forms on your behalf e.g. Lodging the Death Certificate with the relevant State/Government Department, as well as certify Identity Documents and Death Certificates.
10. Certified Copies of the Identity Documents, Passports and Death Certificate should be kept in a safe place. These may be required to close personal accounts at a later date and for official government requirements back at home.
11. In the case of an expat or a member of the expats family passing on, the below additional questions to the form above should be provided for a course of action to be followed by surviving family members.
12. This document should be completed separately by each adult member of the family and distributed to relevant individuals in your Host and Home countries for safe keeping.
To find your Home country embassy in your Host country try out the Project Visa website.


Embassy Details:
Embassy Contact:_________________________________________________
Embassy Tel Number:_____________________________________________

Guardianship of my children:
Names of Children:_________________________________________________
Name of Guardian:_________________________________________________
Contact for Guardian:_______________________________________________
Person responsible for Children until Guardian arrives:_____________________
Contact for above:__________________________________________________

Names of pets:____________________________________________________
Details of pets care:_________________________________________________
Name of person responsible:__________________________________________
Contact for person responsible:________________________________________

Funeral Details:
Contact of Funeral Parlor / Person responsible in Host country for Funeral Arrangements:

Housekeeper employees details, contract, UIF/Social Security etc:
Full name:_______________________________________________________
ID Number:______________________________________________________
Resident Permit / Visa Number:_______________________________________
Other Details:_____________________________________________________

Regard this as a legal document, initial each page and get your witnesses to initial alongside you. Once this document has been completed, keep the original in a safe place and distribute copies to the relevant family or friends. Let them know where the original document is, for future legal requirements.

Having recently lost a parent, the above information would have been imperative in allowing us to have the space and time to grieve without being concerned over issues that we had no answers to.
If you would like to receive these documents in Microsoft Word format, please send an email to help@xpatulator.com

1 comment:

  1. I don't know what happens if you die and you have a car lease, but if you need to get rid of it without paying all the early temrination fees you could try transferring it through something like Car Lease Escape