Death overseas is not a subject many are comfortable discussing. If you have chosen to live your life in Pattaya, away from your extended family and siblings you’re probably having so much fun, that the thought of death never crosses your mind. Your death in Pattaya, accidental or behind old age, is something you need to be prepared for. It is highly unlikely that even your closest relatives will have the financial means or the time from their own daily struggles to come to the other side of the world to handle what needs to be done with your remains.
Thinking about death when you brought yourself to a place so you could think more about living is a dichotomy within itself. You have to keep it real, if you have chosen to be a world traveler and you’re alone in another country you must leave instructions on what needs to be done for you in the event of your death overseas. Do not think that in your last moments you will be able to break through a language barrier and be understood by the person closest to you in your time of demise.
Therefore world travelers there is now a new item that needs to be a part of your essential travel bag. That item is your ‘In Case Of Death Instructions.’ Think of it this way. We are now required to have a name and the contact information, of someone who should be notified in case of an emergency concerning you, in our passport. If you thought enough of that person to give them that responsibility, think enough about them by telling them what to do if they get that call.
In Pattaya, if you don’t leave instructions for your remains, your body will be put under a slab of cement. It will remain there until your skin rots off, which usually occurs after the statute of limitations expires in regards to an unclaimed body. Your bones will then be thrown in a pile with others who did not prepare for their death overseas. I have witnessed this personally when a young man, that was a true friend died accidentally here in Pattaya. Because he did not leave instructions regarding his remains, along with a difference of opinion between his parents regarding his remains. The matter had to be taken through the court system of Thailand. That process took more than a year to complete. During that time the caretakers of the potter’s field where the young man was buried informed the father of the young man what would be done with his sons remains if he did not pursue the matter. If the father did not obtain a court order granting him authority to dispose of his son’s remains, after a period of time his remains would be removed from underneath the slab of cement and thrown into a pile of bones with other foreigners who did not prepare for their death overseas.
I doubt that even my family members, who love me dearly, would be able to travel here to Pattaya and have the time and resources to go through that process on my behalf.
In the event of your death overseas.
Having a will makes handling the processes nice and legal. Having your final instructions written somewhere will help as well, compared to having nothing at all. One of the first instructions should be what needs to be done with your remains. That also includes access to the funds necessary to carry out that request. Yes you need to have your bank accounts, ATM Cards and personal identification numbers(pin) listed so someone, hopefully responsible and trustworthy, can carry out those requests. You can also consider having a specific account designated for that purpose. While your estate is being handled by your family. That list of your financial accounts in the absence of a will will help your family have access to your money. Even in the worst scenario that’s still better than the banks having it. One idea is to have the funds for the disposal of your remains accessible easily and leave the instructions for larger saved fortunes in a lockbox only accessible to the trustee of your estate or your best friend (the contact name in your passport) in the event of your death overseas.
That brings us to the next instruction, which should be, how you would like your possessions divided amongst your children and family. This point cannot be stressed enough. Believe it or not people change colors like a chameleon when it comes to getting valuable free stuff. Having your wishes written down will help relieve all those involved in your bloodline.
Your decision to live as an Ex Patriot in Pattaya is what makes the reality of your death overseas plausible. Help the people that care about you. Leave them a note as to how to handle your affairs in the event of your death. It’s important.
If you actually have to deal with the death of a person in Thailand. The body will be released from the morgue two or three days after the death, to family members. Cremation is the customary form of the disposal of bodily remains in Thailand. Burial and repatriation options are also available, although these options are much more expensive. You will be issued the following documents from the Thai government
- Civil death certificate
- Doctor’s death certificate
If you plan on having the body repatriated you will also need to provide the following when these procedures are done
- Certificate of embalming
- Certificate of permission to transfer the remains
You must have these documents officially translated into the language of the receiving country and stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office. With these documents you can then go to insurance companies and executors of the deceased’s estate.