2 min read

What Happens if I Die Abroad?

There's steps you can take to safeguard you and your family, should the worst occur when abroad. We walk you through the established process for when this occurs, as well as the preparation you should have in place for that next upcoming trip.


So, what actually happens if you die overseas?

  1. Local authority notification

If you pass away whilst abroad, the first step is for the local authorities to be notified and for them to handle the situation. This may involve an investigation and an autopsy, depending on the circumstances of your death. The death will be registered abroad, so there's no need for your family to register the death in Australia.

2. Australian Embassy involvement

Next, the Australian embassy or consulate in the country where you passed away will be notified and will likely inform your Australian family members. They will assist your family in making arrangements to have your remains returned to Australia, as well as help with any legal or financial matters.

3. Getting your body to Australia

Family may have to pay a bill to release the remains. This can create difficulties if there's no travel insurance. Where family members are left to navigate overseas export regulations, as well as quarantine regulations in Australia.

In contrast, with travel insurance there’s established processes in place to deal with your death- easing the organisation and financial burden on your loved ones in an already traumatic time.

How to prepare before you travel:

To safeguard your body and your family’s money and wellbeing, it’s important to be prepared before going overseas. It’s especially relevant, because if you die overseas without a will your assets will be distributed according to the laws of the country where you passed away. This might not be in line with your wishes and leaves your family in a vulnerable position.

To minimise the upset, cost and risk of the worst occurring abroad, we’ve outlined a key checklist below:

  • Leave an updated will and last testament with next of kin or lawyer

  • Appoint a Power of Attorney

  • Get travel insurance that covers repatriation of remains

Get Prepared today

In a last minute rush to get your affairs in order before going away? Need an affordable and quick way to safeguard your wishes whilst on the way to the airport? Safewill’s there for you.

Get started with Safewill today, by contacting one of our experts via 1800 103 310 , or live chat now.

Last updated 03rd January 2023
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Hannah Comiskey
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Safewill is an online service providing streamlined forms and information. Safewill is not a law firm or a substitute for a lawyer’s advice about complex estate planning issues.