What to do when a loved one pass away overseas

Sharing my personal experience when my client passed away overseas while on holiday.

One night in November 2018 I received a message that my client had passed away while on holiday. I was shocked that it was so sudden and it took me awhile to process the information. But after that was a mad rush to check all the documentations required while the family was still overseas.

As I had done full financial planning for the family, I was able to consolidate the various requirements for the respective insurers / investment platforms, and even quickly locating the original Will.

With the above information, I was able to guide the family through a smooth claims and estate administration process. Fortunately, we had also done nomination for the respective insurance policies, so the proceeds were paid out 4-6 weeks after my client’s passing.

Looking back, it was an emotional and stressful time for me as their trusted adviser, as I grieved with them through all the nitty-gritty paperwork.

Here is a broad overview on the process for overseas death claim.

Process for Overseas death claim

While overseas
1. Consolidate all requirements from various insurers
2. All overseas medical reports need to be translated to English by official translator
3. Need to get certified true copy of death cert by notary public
4. Need to inform Embassy in respective country
5. Need to submit for insurance claims:
– Attending doctor need to fill up pre-set form by insurer / submit doctor’s report
– Repatriation report (airway bill)

Upon return to Singapore
1. Bring overseas death cert to Immigration Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to convert to Singapore death cert with NRIC number
2. With Singapore death cert, ask for Will retrieval from custody (if necessary), or locate where the original Will is kept
Tip: For location of original Will, check if it’s lodged with Wills Registry website
3. Submit death claims to various insurers (submit certified true copy death cert + proof of relationship)

More details on the reporting process and repatriation are available at MyLegacy / Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

Apart from insurance, there are still other financial assets that forms part of the estate to be administered.

To make it easier for your Executor / Administrator to gather your assets, and for your dependents to have quick access to funds for living expenses, it’s best to prepare a Schedule of Assets. Check out my colleague Christina Ang’s article on “How to Prepare a Schedule of Assets for Your Will in Singapore

Do reach out to us if you have any queries on claims or estate planning matters & we’ll be most happy to guide you through!

Important: The information and opinions in this article are for general information purposes only. They should not be relied on as professional financial advice. Readers should seek independent financial advice that is customised to their specific financial objectives, situations & needs. This advertisement or publication has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Published By:

Chan Wen Li Winnie

Winnie is a Certified Financial Planner with more than 10 years experience in financial advisory services, helping many of her clients to achieve their financial dreams, while protecting their families. 

With more than a decade of insurance claims experience, she has tangibly helped many clients receive their claims pay-outs successfully, relieving their financial burden.

As part of her community outreach program, she finds it very meaningful to conduct financial talks for companies where the staff can benefit from the talks. Some of the companies who have benefitted include National Kidney Foundation, Singapore National Eye Centre and Singtel. 

Despite her busy schedule, she enjoys working out at the gym and playing the piano (currently pursuing Grade 5 ABRSM).

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