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If an Australian dies overseas and has travel insurance, this can significantly reduce the stress on relatives and loved ones. Insurance companies will generally provide advice on and take care of most of the arrangements and costs associated with a local funeral or the return of the remains to Australia.

Unfortunately, many Australians are still travelling overseas without adequate insurance cover. If an Australian dies overseas and is not covered by travel insurance, it becomes their family’s responsibility to make the funeral arrangements and meet the costs involved, such as returning the remains to Australia.

We strongly recommend that all Australians travelling overseas take out travel insurance to cover the costs of hospitalisation and medical treatment should they become ill overseas, as well as costs incurred as a result of death.

What we can do

We will do everything in our power to assist Australians who have lost a relative or friend overseas. We can often help with our knowledge and understanding of the local environment, but we must also work within the legal and administrative processes that apply in the host country.

We can:

  • assist family and friends to understand the legal and administrative processes that apply in that country
  • if required, liaise with representatives from the travel insurance company in both the overseas country and Australia
  • provide a list of local funeral directors and lawyers
  • liaise with the local funeral director so they are aware of Australian quarantine regulations
  • provide guidance on obtaining translations if an English-speaking funeral service company is not available
  • advise on the estimated cost of local burial, local cremation and transport of the remains back to Australia
  • advise on the estimated cost of transporting any personal property back to Australia
  • advise on how to transfer funds from Australia to meet any costs
  • assist, if necessary, to identify the body
  • assist with obtaining quarantine clearance for the return of the remains
  • provide advice on managing media enquiries.

What we cannot do

We cannot:

  • recommend a funeral director or lawyer
  • investigate the death of an Australian citizen
  • pay burial or cremation expenses
  • pay for or organise the return of the remains to Australia
  • take responsibility for freighting personal effects
  • make legal representations or become involved in legal issues surrounding the circumstances of the death or matters relating to a deceased estate
  • pay any outstanding debts the deceased may have.