What to do if your loved one dies away from home

Losing a loved one is hard enough. It’s even more difficult if he/she passes away far from home. Survivors are often uncertain what to do next.

Always start by consulting with the local police department and coroner when preparing to return a body home. Here are some additional tips.

  • Deaths abroad: Immediately get in touch with the U.S. Embassy or other local US affiliated governmental group. You can also contact the State Department's Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS). They can assist you with bringing your loved one home. This is called "repatriation of remains."
  • Deaths occurring within the United States: Inquire with the investigating police department to confirm that the body can be returned home. They may also have suggestions for the best way to transport the body. If you already have a provider in mind for the service, they would also be a good source of information.
  • Call the deceased's employer or your employer. Through an Employee Assistance Program, travel assistance or other provider, the employer may have a repatriation program that will assist with returning the body home and with associated expenses.