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Financial Planning for Funeral Repatriation: What Families Need To Know

Bringing a deceased loved one back home from another country is a dilemma that every family doesn’t want to experience. Unfortunately, for some families, this could be their reality. Without proper financial preparation, many grieving families find themselves scrambling to cover five-figure transportation and funeral expenses.

However, with some advanced planning and budgeting, paying for repatriation doesn’t have to be an insurmountable hardship. By understanding typical costs, checking existing coverage, researching special assistance programs, and setting aside funds when possible, Aussie families can navigate the complex repatriation process with one less worry.

Gain Clarity on Repatriation Expenses

The first step is educating yourself on the common fees involved so you know what to anticipate. In general, transferring remains from another country back home ranges from AUD$5,000 on the lower end to over AUD$10,000, depending on the destination and other factors.

Some of the major expenses include:

  • Transport costs – From airfare for the deceased to travel permits and cargo holds, getting a body home is pricey. Overseas flights can run AUD$2,000-AUD$4,000 depending on the country and route regulations. Special cargo holds with temperature controls also cost more than typical baggage fees.
  • Casket or urn – The ones approved for international transportation may cost anywhere from AUD$500 for a basic urn to AUD$3,000+ for a metal casket.
  • Preparation of remains – This includes embalming, cremation, document processing, storage fees at a morgue or funeral home, and other administrative expenses. This can tally up to several thousand dollars.
  • Permits and consular service – Australian consular fees, permits, death certificates, etc. Paperwork allowing transport of remains and coordination with DFAT offices abroad cost extra, too.

Understanding these potential numbers can help Aussie families plan budgets and get the most out of their paid costs. One of the best ways to go about this is to look into our funeral repatriation services to ensure you’ll get your money’s worth.

Review Existing Insurance and Funeral Funds

Once aware of repatriation cost estimates, the next step is reviewing any existing coverage that may offset expenses:

  • Superannuation funds with funeral insurance may offer limited transportation allowances. Check details closely regarding reimbursement amounts and limitations.
  • Some life insurance and travel insurance policies contain minimal repatriation benefits as well. Evaluate fine print to understand coverage.
  • Employee insurance packages could have modest repatriation provisions for globetrotting staff. Ask HR departments regarding specifics.

While individual payouts may not reach AUD$10,000+ in full repatriation costs, collectively tapping multiple sources helps families pay portions.

Seek Out Financial Assistance

Even after insurance reimbursements, many Aussie families still owe thousands out-of-pocket, especially when repatriating from distant locales abroad. Qualifying for financial aid can alleviate financial stress.

While Australia doesn’t have nonprofit repatriation assistance programs, several charitable community groups, multicultural service centres, and religious institutions do provide modest monetary aid on a case-by-case basis for transporting deceased residents home from overseas.

Eligibility for charitable grants often depends on demonstrated financial need, repatriation route and costs, and strength of ties to Australia. Checking qualification terms through local community networks and DFA consular staff guides families toward potential assistance.

Save and Budget for Fees When Possible

With burial costs rising to around 20% from 2019 in Australia, budget has become a pressing issue. Even Aussie families receiving some reimbursements and charity grants may need to contribute AUD$ 3,000+ for uncompensated repatriation fees. Therefore, proactively saving and budgeting funds for this specific future need is smart.

Earmark AUD$50-100 monthly to bank accounts or funeral investment funds dedicated expressly for potential repatriation costs. Think of it as ‘rainy day’ insurance, just in case. For Australians temporarily living overseas or supporting relatives abroad, such targeted saving brings peace of mind.

Take Early Logistical Steps for Smoother Planning

Making preliminary plans while still healthy and able brings immense peace of mind to you and your family. Though no one likes contemplating their passing, taking a few logistical steps in advance alleviates chaos and confusion down the road.

  • Discuss wishes with loved ones so everyone understands desired burial arrangements. Ideally, put legal wills, advanced healthcare directives and other written and notarised instructions in place.
  • Research funeral homes that handle international repatriations so families know who to contact. Getting estimates for their services also provides cost expectations.
  • Save key contacts like consulate offices and airline cargo departments often involved in the transport process. Share this info so surviving relatives have what they need ready to go.
  • Prepay for services when possible so costs are locked in and prepaid funds are released to kin faster. Even if families can only afford minimal prepayment now, it guarantees set pricing later.

Following this advice helps ease headaches for grieving families already overwhelmed with arranging repatriation. They can simply notify professionals of preexisting plans and funds ready to activate. It also may reinforce motivation to stick to financial saving goals since expenditures are already in motion.

In closing

Funeral repatriation interrupts the healing of loss, but with ample money saving, researching reimbursements, securing assistance when eligible and preparing early, families can ensure complete burial rights. Tracking down sufficient funds takes effort yet brings peace of mind that no loved one gets left behind.

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