When a Death Occurs Away from Home or Out of Town, Take These Four Steps

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Losing a loved one is difficult, no matter the time or place. When a death occurs away from home or out of town, do you know the steps to take?

In today’s mobile society, end-of-life emergencies are more likely to occur in locations other than at home. When a loved one passes while traveling or away from their primary residence, it makes a stressful situation more challenging and complicated. Knowing the actions to take under these circumstances can relieve some of the burdens and enable you to make the best decisions.

Here are four important things to know about making funeral arrangements when death occurs away from home or out of town.

1. Contact your hometown funeral director first.

Wherever the loss takes place, it is important to reach out to the funeral home your loved one designated or in their hometown. These experienced professionals can direct and coordinate the necessary services on your behalf. Failure to contact the local funeral provider may result in duplication of services and excess costs. By making necessary arrangements and taking care of transportation and any required travel authorizations, you and your family can be spared additional worry.

2.  Your funeral director can eliminate needless expenses.

A death away from home often leads to additional expenditures. The amount depends largely on the circumstances, the services requested, and applicable laws. For example, if the distance is not very far, the departed may be transported by train or vehicle from the funeral home or mortuary. If the deceased is transported across state lines, some states require the body to be embalmed for transport, while others do not. If the distance is farther away, they may require air transport. Your funeral home staff is knowledgeable about the applicable rules and regulations and will assist you in making funeral arrangements that suit your needs, comply with pertinent laws, and save you money wherever possible.


3. Funeral providers can assist with all aspects of death care coordination.

Loss that occurs away from home presents unique and special nuances. Your caring funeral professionals will provide the support you need and assist with critical details such as:

  • Preparation and transfer of the departed to their home location
  • Provision of a container for transportation
  • Arranging for all required documents and permits in the city where the death occurred
  • Arranging for airline transportation and proper shipping, if necessary
  • In cases of cremation, arranging for cremation where the death occurred and transportation of the cremated remains back to the home location

4. If the loss occurred abroad, reach out to the U.S. Embassy. 

If a loved one passes away while traveling internationally, the U.S. Embassy will come to your assistance. An embassy official in the country where the death occurred will contact the State Department in Washington, D.C. to notify the next of kin. A funeral home in that country will be required in addition to your hometown funeral home, to coordinate the necessary services, transfers, and activities. It is important to note that the international funeral process can be lengthy, sometimes taking weeks or longer.

When a death occurs away from home or out of town, calling your hometown funeral director is essential for getting the care you need. If you have questions or need more information, please contact our compassionate funeral directors anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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