If a loved one dies away from home, there are many questions that need to be answered quickly. This is a time when pre-planning end-of-life arrangements and sharing them with family is particularly helpful.
Options if a loved one dies away from home in the US
If you desire a funeral or memorial service for the deceased, without a viewing, when the remains are returned home, then consider cremating the body where death occurred. Compared to the high cost of transporting a body, cremating the remains where death has occurred and returning the ashes home is much less expensive. The ashes can be mailed, or taken on an airplane as either carry-on (in a container that can be x-rayed) or as packed luggage at no additional cost.
It is usually easy to locate an affordable cremation at the place of death. FCANNJ members should contact a local affiliate for help. Members are entitled to any discount offered to the local chapter. You can also search on-line. Enter “cremation” and add the state name. Call the national office of FCA at 802-865-8300 if further help is needed.
If you plan to ship the body home for burial, you will generally save money and stress by working with a funeral director located at home rather than at the place of death. If the deceased is a member of FCANNJ, call the chosen funeral director and ask the cost of Receiving Remains (a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) required option on all funeral home price lists).
If the body has already been taken to a funeral home where death occurred, ask them about their price of Forwarding Remains (also a FTC Required option).
Ask the funeral director to use a shipping service such as Inman Nationwide to prepare the body for shipping home. Whatever services you engage, the cost of the airline ticket and service is extra.
Options if a loved one dies away from home while traveling abroad
The laws governing the death of a foreigner varies from country to country. Cremation is available in most countries, but may be limited or prohibited in predominately Catholic and Muslim nations. Transporting a body back home for burial is more complicated, time-consuming and expensive than cremation at the place of death. You should contact a funeral director in the U.S. for assistance in making the arrangements. The local Consular Office will be able to assist you with the local rules and restrictions, if necessary.