Travelling can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it's essential to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. 

While no one likes to think about the worst-case scenario, it's essential to understand what happens if an Australian citizen passes away while abroad. 

This article will provide valuable insights into the steps and procedures involved in such situations, ensuring that you and your loved ones are informed and prepared.

Steps to take if there is a death overseas.

1. Notify the Australian Embassy or Consulate.

The first step when a loved one dies overseas is to contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate. They will guide you through the necessary processes and provide assistance during this challenging time.

2. Contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Informing the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Australia is crucial. They will coordinate with the relevant authorities in the foreign country and assist in repatriating the deceased's remains to Australia.

3. Register the death.

The next step is to register the death with the local authorities in the foreign country. The embassy or consulate can help you with this process, ensuring that all the required documents are in order.

4. Organising repatriation.

Repatriating the deceased's remains back to Australia involves various legal and logistical steps. The embassy or consulate will assist in coordinating with the funeral director and airlines to ensure a smooth process. If you have travel insurance, check that this is something that can be covered, otherwise it can be an expensive process transporting the body to their home country.

5. Understanding local laws and customs.

Every country has different laws and customs regarding death and funeral arrangements. It's crucial to be aware of these, and the embassy or consulate can provide the necessary guidance.

6. Financial considerations.

Dealing with the financial aspects of a death overseas can be complicated. It's essential to understand the deceased's insurance coverage, will, and any relevant policies that may apply.

7. Seek legal advice.

In some cases, seeking legal advice may be necessary, especially if there are complexities in dealing with the deceased's assets or estate.

What happens if I have a Bare Prepaid Cremation?

If the death occurs overseas and you have travel insurance, it should cover repatriation to Australia. Once the body arrives in the country, Bare can take care of the cremation. However, since our services are only available within Australia, if the funds are not used for our services, they will be released to the estate when the time comes.

Support for Australians overseas.

As an Australian citizen travelling overseas, it's helpful to register your travel plans with the government's official travel advice and consular assistance service (Smartraveller). This allows the government to provide support and contact you in case of emergencies.

Preparing for international travel.

Before embarking on an international journey, ensure that you have travel insurance, updated legal documents, and share your travel plans with family or friends, just in case. This can include updating your will and next of kin information, and informing your loved ones where they can find these important documents.


1. Can I bring back the deceased's remains on my own?

Bringing back the deceased's remains to Australia involves legal and logistical complexities, and it's best left to professionals. The embassy or consulate will assist in arranging repatriation.

2. Will my travel insurance cover repatriation costs?

Travel insurance policies differ, and coverage for repatriation may depend on the policy's terms. Contact your insurance provider to understand your coverage better.

3. How long does repatriation take?

Repatriation time can vary depending on factors such as the foreign country's regulations, availability of flights, and paperwork processing. The embassy or consulate will strive to make the process as swift as possible.

4. Can I have a memorial service in the foreign country?

Yes, you can choose to hold a memorial service in the foreign country, depending on local laws and customs. The embassy or consulate can offer guidance on arranging such services.

5. Is it necessary to have travel insurance when going overseas?

While travel insurance is not legally required, it is highly recommended. Travel insurance can provide financial protection and support in emergencies, including medical assistance and repatriation in case of death.

Final thoughts on what to do when someone dies overseas.

Before any holiday or extended travel, it’s best to ensure all your insurances and legal documents are up to date. It’s a great time to sit down with your next of kin and loved ones to talk through your estate, funeral wishes, and anything else that might be relevant - it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

If you’re interested in planning ahead, Bare Prepaid Cremation offers a convenient option. You can head to the link below for an instant quote for your area, or give our incredible Prepaid team a call on 1800 202 901 to further discuss the arrangement.