It’s probably the last thing you want to think about when you’re enjoying your new life in the Portuguese sun – but if you’re a British expat living in Portugal, it’s important to think about what would happen when you or someone close to you passes away.
Funerals in Portugal are very different from those in the UK. They often happen within 48 hours, and any delay can mean extra mortuary fees paid by the day. Plus there’s the unfamiliar customs and language barrier to deal with.
And if you want to be laid to rest in the UK, rather than Portugal, your next of kin will need to deal with the repatriation process. Repatriation can be complicated and expensive, so it’s important that you and your family know all the facts, so that when the time comes they’ll be prepared.
What’s involved in repatriation?
The first step, before you can repatriate someone to the UK, is to register their death with the local authorities in Portugal. You’ll be issued with a local death certificate.
During this time, you’ll also need to enlist the help of a local Funeral Director in Portugal. They’ll take the person who has died into their care and keep them in the mortuary until everything is ready for transportation.
To begin the repatriation process, you’ll need a certified English translation of the death certificate and permission from the local coroner to transport them abroad.
You will also need to choose a Funeral Director back in the UK. Be aware that not all Funeral Directors provide repatriation, so you may need to look for a specialist with experience repatriating British expats.
The Portuguese Funeral Director will help you with paperwork, booking flights, and sourcing a regulation coffin. The British Funeral Director will be there to receive the coffin when the flight lands and to arrange the burial or cremation.
How much does repatriation cost?
The cost of repatriation can vary depending on the cost of flights, where you’re flying to and from, and the type of funeral you have once the person is repatriated. Individual Funeral Directors also often have different fees, so it can pay to shop around.
Bear in mind that in the UK the average cost of a cremation is £3,311 – and you will need to pay for flights, an extra Funeral Director and a special regulation coffin on top of that.
Can I repatriate ashes instead?
A more affordable option is to have a local cremation in Portugal, then have your ashes repatriated to the UK. This means you won’t have to pay for a separate flight, regulation coffin or a second Funeral Director.
Many airlines now allow people to bring an urn containing ashes onto a flight. However, you should always check your chosen airline before flying. Some will ask you to check the ashes in with any hold luggage, while others will let you keep them with you in your carry-on baggage.
As an extra precaution, it’s always a good idea to carry copies of the death certificate and cremation certification, just in case customs and excise officials have any questions.
Once back in the UK, you can scatter the ashes, keep them in an urn at home, or inter them in a burial plot in a cemetery.
How can I plan my repatriation in advance?
If you want to make things less complicated for your family, a prepaid funeral plan lets you arrange and pay for your funeral in advance.
Avalon Funeral Plans offers plans specially designed for expats living in Portugal. You can choose between a local burial or cremation, or full repatriation to mainland Great Britain. When the time comes, all your loved ones have to do is call the 24/7 bereavement help line and Avalon will set everything in motion.
You can pay in Euros or Sterling, in one lump sum or affordable monthly payments. There are no health questions – just choose the type of funeral you want and Avalon will help make everything simple for your loved ones.
Avalon is the UK’s most trusted funeral plan provider, with a five-star rating on Trustpilot. Find out more about Avalon’s expat funeral plans online or call us now on +34 966 799 070.