Hugh Wilcock, a British expat based in Spain, was forced to make his own funeral arrangements after a hospital in Spain prescribed him a lethal painkiller. Nolotil, the painkiller, is now banned in the UK because of its strong and unpredictable side effects.
Around a month into drinking the pills, Wilcock developed rashes on his forehead and felt severely ill until he was rushed to the Malaga’s University hospital.
‘I was planning my own funeral’, says Wilcock. ‘It was touch and go.’
Wilcock’s story is not only an example of the difficulties of different medical practises in different countries, it’s an example of the dangers of not planning ahead when it comes down to your funeral.
If you’re thinking of retiring in Spain, the last thing you want to think about are what arrangements you would like to make when you pass away while living abroad. This is how you can start:
Do It for Them, Too
You must understand that once you do pass away, the people who will take responsibility for your funeral arrangements will be your family. Possible complications for funeral arrangements when living abroad include:
- Language barrier
Your family may be making the arrangements for you and it can be difficult for them to communicate with the right people if they do not speak the language. This adds pressure to your loved ones and may cause misunderstandings.
- Local traditions
The country you live in has different customs when it comes to funeral planning. In Spain, for example, it is a rule that unless the departed has made prior funeral plans, the body needs to be cremated within 72 hours.
- Legal implications
If your family does not understand the implications of the paperwork required by the country you live in, it might lead to further issues that may take time, money and effort to solve.
What Happens after a Death in Spain
Upon death, a person’s next of kin is required to call a Doctor and the Guardia Civil (police) who will contact a local funeral director of their choice. The next of kin will then be asked to sign the ‘Body Release Form’, which in many cases also implies that they have agreed to entrust the body to the funeral director, often with no disclosure of pricing or other forms of legal confirmation. The bank accounts and assets of the diseased in Spain may also be frozen.
Planning Makes all the Difference
With a prepaid funeral plan, the experience is quite different – and also more secure.
The person’s next of kin will still inform the doctor and police. The difference between unplanned and planned funerals is that with a funeral plan, your family would then contact the expat pre-paid funeral plan providers in Spain. This means that they will take care of everything else, removing the stress from the family of the departed.
Usually, funeral plan providers have offices in your chosen country with multi-lingual staff who can assist you during a difficult time. Plus, they will have good local knowledge and a vast array of connections with local funeral directors. This ensures that when the time comes, your funeral arrangements will be in safe hands.
It can be difficult discussing your funeral arrangements with your loved ones, but doing so will only be beneficial for their future. Making a clear plan lets you secure all areas of your funeral arrangements, giving you and your family peace of mind.