In case of a death abroad, Finnish missions can help family members to arrange the burial, cremation or repatriation of the person who died.
Mission reports the death to the Finnish authorities
When a Finnish national or resident dies abroad, the Finnish mission usually receives the information from the authorities in that country or from a travel agency guide, the Honorary Consul or a funeral director. The mission reports the death to the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Ministry will ask the Finnish police to deliver the sad news to one next of kin of the person who died if the family does not yet know of the death.
Repatriation and burial arrangements
The insurance company or the funeral director selected by the family members will arrange for the repatriation or burial of the person who has died. The body may be buried abroad or brought back to Finland in a coffin or an urn.
The next of kin must provide the insurance company or the funeral director with certain documents, such as an extract from the Population Information System attesting to the family relationship or a power of attorney. The practices may vary according to country. The mission will give you more information.
The family members must attend to a number of other practical matters abroad, such as securing the personal belongings, clearing the home or closing the bank account of the person who died.
The family members may engage a local agent or lawyer to help settling the estate of the person who died. The mission staff are not able to help in settling estates but they can advise family members on available services if necessary.
Contact the Finnish Tax Administration to find about holding an estate inventory in Finland.
- Estate inventory and deed of inventory(Link to another website.)
- Finnish taxes on an inheritance that comes from a foreign country(Link to another website.)
Notifying the Finnish Population Information System of a death abroad
The Digital and Population Data Services Agency (DVV) must be notified when a Finnish national dies abroad so that the date of death can be entered in the Finnish Population Information System.
It is easiest for the family to arrange with the local funeral director for obtaining an official death certificate and for having the certificate translated and legalised.
The Finnish mission abroad will notify the DVV of the death of a Finnish national when a Chargé d'Affaires has visited the diplomatic or consular mission to present the legalised death certificate and where necessary a certified translation of the certificate.
The family members may notify the DVV themselves. Please be aware that the document requirements depend on the country issuing the document. Read more on the DVV's website Death abroad(Link to another website.).
Once the date of death has been entered in the Finnish Population Information System, the death estate may order certificates for the estate inventory(Link to another website.).
Who is responsible for the costs?
The family members should check if the person who died had travel insurance and contact the insurance company as soon as possible. Finnish travel insurance usually covers either the cost of repatriation of the person who died to their place of residence in Finland or the local burial costs. The insurance company will take care of the arrangements.
When there is no travel insurance, the family members of the person who died are liable for all costs, including the costs for obtaining a death certificate and for having the certificate translated and legalised. The family members arrange with the funeral director which services they want. Repatriation to Finland can be very costly.
If the family members or the estate of the person who died are not able to pay for the repatriation or burial, the body will be buried locally according to local legislation.