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What Happens When a Death Occurs Far from Home?

Much like in life, it’s impossible to be prepared for everything that will happen in death. It would be nice to say that everyone will die in their own home, surrounded by their family at an old age after a wonderful and fulfilling life. However, that is not always the case. Things do not always go according to plan and people pass away while they’re on vacation, wintering in a warmer state or just away from home for any reason. Below, we will talk about the steps to take when a death occurs far from home.

Who Should I Call?

When a death occurs far from home, the first question is often “who do I call?” Depending on the circumstances, you may be somewhere unfamiliar, with no funeral home relationships. To help alleviate stress and confusion, you should the funeral home who will be handling the services in your hometown. This funeral home will gather all the necessary details, such as where is your loved one now, will they be buried or cremated, and any additional information needed. After this initial conversation your local funeral director will contact a vetted and reputable funeral home local to the place of death to work on their behalf. They will work together to bring your loved one into their care and begin any necessary process to bring them to their final resting place.

My Loved One Didn’t Want to be Cremated, How Do I Get Them Home?

Just because a death occurs far from home does not mean that cremation is the only option. In the United States, a human body can travel via plane to any state, or they can be driven to their final location. Your funeral director will work with you to determine the best course of action to bring your loved one home. They will help you navigate any requirements of embalming or refrigeration for travel, finding a transport service or airline and any other details needed.

Can I Have Them Cremated Here?

If your loved one’s final wish was to be cremated, most will choose to have their body cremated in the place of death. This can also be coordinated through your local funeral home. They will perform the same vetting process and find a trusted funeral home to work on their behalf. When cremation is chosen for final disposition, you may need to visit funeral home local to your loved one’s death in person to complete authorizations and paperwork for them to carry forward with the cremation. Keep in mind that every state has varying laws and regulations and there may be a required hold before cremation can take place. If your loved one is cremated, you can take responsibility for bringing their cremated remains home yourself. You can travel with cremated remains on a plane, by car, or ship them to their destination via the USPS.

When Should I Plan the Funeral or Memorial?

When a death occurs far from home, timing for services is important to think about. Working with your trusted local funeral director will help you determine the time needed to get your loved one home to hold a funeral or memorial service. Because there is an added detail of getting your loved one home and navigating other states rules and regulations, have patience with the time frame. As with any death, it will help to inform family and friends as soon as possible so they can begin to make plans if needed.

When a death occurs far from home, it can add anxiety and stress to the planning. However, by keeping in mind some of the above tips, you can help yourself be prepared for what extra steps that may entail. Above all else, always contact your trusted funeral home local to where your loved one’s final destination is. With their help, you can navigate transportation, necessary paperwork and all the funeral planning to lay your loved one to rest.

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