Gransnet forums


Would you want your body to be returned home?

(53 Posts)
Fleurpepper Mon 08-Aug-22 21:42:18

We never know what is ahead of us, and why or when or where?

I have made it clear to my OH and ACs and GCs that should I meet my Maker abroad, I would not wish for my body to be returned, and especially not flown back. thankfully they agree.

I will be buried where I fall. What about you?

Baggytrazzas Tue 09-Aug-22 16:39:44



Does anyone know why it costs as much?

You have to be prepared for transport, flown back and handled under special conditions, transported and handled at the other end. It all adds up.

Hi , yes, I understand about the preparation and additional paperwork, etc, and that it might cost a fair bit for a " freight package" in the hold of a plane, but how could that all add up to £17000, without a funeral? Surely preparing the body of a local person is very similar to preparing one that is to be flown elsewhere and so really it should only be the cost of the flight that adds to the normal costs?

PamelaJ1 Tue 09-Aug-22 17:08:21


I read the very sad story of the lady who died on the plane next to her children, was that what prompted your question Fleurpepper.
I would want to be cremated where I died, the cost of repatriation is too much unless covered by insurance.

There is a crowdfunding appeal for this unfortunate woman.
Presumably it is to repatriate her?

LondonMzFitz Tue 09-Aug-22 17:21:27

I asked my Mum (then 78) what my Dad wanted when he died very suddenly at home and she said she'd no idea, they'd never discussed it.

It was a horrible situation, thankfully Mum's very sensible brother agreed with the suggestion of my sisters and I that Dad be cremated and his ashes taken back to Ireland, where his father, mother, brother and sister were buried in a family plot. I bless my Uncle as it calmed Mum down - she wanted Dad buried locally to her with a headstone she could attend to, and there were many tears when it was - as kindly as possible - put to her she was 3+ hours from any family and would have to move ....

Mum died near my sister in East Sussex, but didn't want to be buried there (although made no suggestion as to where!), so we transported her (strict instructions no cremation) across several Counties to North West London - and there was a fee to be paid at every County for transporting a body.

Philippa111 Tue 09-Aug-22 17:24:48

It wouldn't matter to me at all as I won't be here or indeed abroad, but I think some families get comfort from visiting the grave where the person has been buried in a coffin and they may want the body returned, which I can understand. And the cost and inconvenience wouldn't come in to it for them. I would imagine that's a very traditional approach.

Personally I will need to discuss this with my daughter, if I go travelling, and ask her what she would prefer but she hates me bringing these topics I might wait! No current plans to travel anywhere right now.

paddyann54 Tue 09-Aug-22 18:58:54

I'd just want cremated and ashes scattered at the crematorium garden of remembrance .I have the ashes of both my In laws here ,FIL died 17 years ago and MIl didn't know where to scatter them ,she died last Christmas and her daughter doesn't know what to do with them here they stay .For now.
I've made suggestions but she's not happy with any of them ,her OH has said that my first suggestion is perfect BUT not as far as she's concerned ! I'm giving her until the start of December so they can be scattered on or near MIL's anniversary .Is that unreasonable .my GD was freaked out when she discovered what was in the shiny boxes
in the spare room.
I should say SIL has never made a decision quickly ,even buying a light fitting can take 2 years

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 09-Aug-22 19:34:15

Bearing in mind that you might be in a non English speaking country.

Dr Google says.

The ‘repatriation provider’ ( I guess you have to find one) will need to gather the following
paperwork to begin the repatriation:
The local death certificate with a certified English translation
The passport of the person who died
Permission to take the body out of the country
A certificate of embalming
A “Freedom from infection” certificate
A permit for the country the deceased will be travelling to, if needed
Once they have the above, they will fly the body of the person who has died home in a special zinc-lined coffin.

I’m not sure who arranges the flight home. Then your undertakers will meet the coffin at the Airport.

2 of our friends Fathers died abroad and it took 4/5 weeks to get their bodies home. One was travelling independently and one with a Tour Company, the Tour Company handled all of the arrangements, there was Travel Insurance to pay for it.

In the other case the Widow and her friends had to do it all themselves, thankfully they also had Travel Insurance which paid for it all.

I think it’s all the legal requirements that take the time.

Serendipity22 Tue 09-Aug-22 19:36:28

Wow, this has made me think. Never considered it before, ever.

I suppose the only reason I would think I should be back hone would be for my DS and DD, certainly not for myself. Its something i need to ask them.

Good thread.

M0nica Tue 09-Aug-22 19:41:07

It all depends on where you die. I can see no harm in some one having their ashes returned home. Just get them put in a box and posted. That will not be expensive.

Should you die somewhere along the European channele coast; northern France/Belgium/Netherlands etc. Returning a body will not be horrensously expensive and it gives employment to those working in the undertakers trade, plus ferry companies etc.

I leave the decision entirely up to my children.

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 09-Aug-22 19:46:45

In 2014, The Royal Mail made human ashes a prohibited item in their network. Apparently.

The Internet is full of Info from various Companies who deal with transporting ashes and the costs from various countries back to the U.K.

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 09-Aug-22 19:51:00

Knowing the trauma that both Widows went through when their husbands died, the last thing they would have been able to do was to wait for the Post Mortem abroad and then organise a cremation, before coming back home to their families.
Both Windows were able to come home within a few of days and were able to make arrangements at home with their families.

M0nica Tue 09-Aug-22 20:45:25

Who knows what is in a parcel, unless it is opened? I know in the UK you will be asked what is in a parcel, but no one checks to see if what you say is true.

Yammy Tue 09-Aug-22 20:59:19


I want my family to do whatever brings them the most comfort.

I think that is lovely Mandrake. So thoughtful and taking their feelings into account. We could all make a list and say what we want , but we will not know and I would like you for my family to do what they are most comfortable with.
The Rupert Brookes poem comes to mind when repatriation is mentioned where ever you are buried it will always be a part of your home country in his case England.

Fleurpepper Tue 09-Aug-22 21:07:49


It all depends on where you die. I can see no harm in some one having their ashes returned home. Just get them put in a box and posted. That will not be expensive.

Should you die somewhere along the European channele coast; northern France/Belgium/Netherlands etc. Returning a body will not be horrensously expensive and it gives employment to those working in the undertakers trade, plus ferry companies etc.

I leave the decision entirely up to my children.

If you want to send ashes or take them on plane, to many countries, like NZ and OZ, etc- it is hugely complicated as teh urn has to be checked and sealed officially by Judge/Coroner, or they will not be allowed on the plane or to transporter.

Fleurpepper Tue 09-Aug-22 21:12:45

Fine of course to leave it to children- but they might not all agree, and also wonder what YOU would have wanted. No harm in saying what you wish to happen, and then leave it to them.

When my uncle was dying of cancer, he told his sons he wanted to be cremated so they agreed and promised they would follow his wishes. When he died his brother went crazy, as he was a Catholic Priest and said that he could not be cremated, as a practising Catholic, as he 'needed his body on resurrection day'. No argument or discussion would placate him. The boys of course did as their dad had asked- they have not spoken to their Uncle since.

Talk his good- just say what you want, and ask if OK. No need to make a big thing about it. Makes it so much easier for the kids, as and when.

Mine Tue 09-Aug-22 21:39:37

I'd rather my family didn't bring my body home but not sure what they would do...I'd like my ashes scattered in a place so close to my heart so maybe they could bring my ashes home...

Golddustwoman Tue 09-Aug-22 21:44:08

I would want what would be the easiest thing for my family

Fleurpepper Thu 11-Aug-22 17:28:45

Agreed- but it makes it so much easier for them to decide, especially if they do not all agree- what your wishes would be. I have a friend who is an undertaker, and she says it is unbelievable that couples and family rarely discuss what their wishes would be re funeral, etc, and also organ donation.

It does not have to be macabre, just an honest discussion, and then let it be.

Petera Thu 11-Aug-22 17:31:07


No. My body is going to medical science, anyway

Is this not also a problem though? filled in the forms to donate my body to my first university but they said they only took it if I was relatively close when I died (something like 100 miles...)

Farzanah Thu 11-Aug-22 18:15:30

Relatives of those who donate their body may find that for several reasons after death the medical school is unable to take them, and has been as said it has to be a reasonable distance away.
Best to have contingency plan in place.

Daddima Thu 11-Aug-22 19:20:04


No. My body is going to medical science, anyway

I don’t think they’ll take it if you die abroad, and it’s usually got to be in good nick!

Baggytrazzas Fri 12-Aug-22 09:18:04

Hi, I am out of date with current regulations for donating bodies to science, but as I understand it the universities are currently deluged by " offers" possibly due to some people thinking it might avoid the cost of a funeral.

To the best of my knowledge the request to donate your body has to be agreed by the place that has agreed to accept it and everything signed well before death takes place.

Most places will accept only bodies when there have been very unusual health issues experienced.

Also, if you donate to a place that specialises in one area of the body, eg the brain, and they accept, they will only remove the brain and any other relative bits and return the rest of the body to the family.

As Petera had mentioned, they will also not usually accept bodies that are not located relatively close by, and in direct relation to this thread, would be highly unlikely to pay for a body to be brought from abroad back to the UK.

Also, I think they can't accept embalmed or otherwise treated bodies and so if an accepted donor died abroad, and as part of the " travel arrangements" the body had to be treated, then it is likely that the donor arrangement would be cancelled.

It would seem that everyone who has been accepted as a donor would still need to have a plan b in place in case the body wasn't accepted right at the end.

I think it would be best overall if everyone travelling abroad made sure they had adequate insurance in place to cover whatever they needed to happen in the event of their death.

aggie Fri 12-Aug-22 09:30:05

A local charity here was set up by a bereaved family , to repatriated the deceased from abroad , there are lots of fund raising events to pay for this
They organise a Funeral director , sort the paper work and help the bereaved
Sorry I can’t remember the name ,

Zoejory Fri 12-Aug-22 09:40:18

Very true. My son is a University lecturer teaching medical students with the help of cadavers . They don't take all that are offered , by any means..

As for dying abroad, definitely dispose of me then and there.

Far too much stress and money involved to fly me back.

Allsorts Sat 13-Aug-22 16:28:40

Never thought if it but know I should have. Up to my son really. I would like him to fly wherever I am attend my cremation and bring ashes home to be in England. If he could not do that it’s his choice.

Fleurpepper Wed 17-Aug-22 09:05:02

Why not just tell him. So he knows. Then leave it up to him. So simple.