Dying in Thailand

Dying in Thailand

Dying in Thailand

by | Uncategorised

The international press often like to remind us that Thailand is one of the deadliest countries on earth for foreigners. In reality, the vast majority of foreign visitors enjoy a trouble-free time in the Land of Smiles and many return year after year. While it is true that there were 362 British deaths in Thailand in 2013-2014 (according to UK Foreign Office figures) I’d wager that, with Thailand’s appalling road safety record, a high proportion of these are due to traffic accidents. And in spite of the high farang death rate and the political uncertainty associated with the country, many foreign retirees choose to live out their days here drawn by the excellent health care, the hot climate and the inexpensive cost of living.

But what happens when, after a long and enjoyable retirement, your time comes?

Death in any country follows a formalised, administrative procedure which is often unfamiliar but things become even more complicated abroad when language and cultural complexities are added in to the equation. It is prudent to make yourself aware of the requirements of the country you call home.

  • In Thailand, any death must be reported to the police within 24 hours so make sure you know the number for the police (a sensible precaution to take whichever countries you visit or reside in)! If the death occurs in a hospital, a death certificate will be issued and set the administrative process in motion.
  • The police will notify the relevant embassy and the next of kin.
  • The body will be sent to the Examining Magistrate’s office to determine cause of death.
  • If the cause of death is not suspicious or unusual, the body will be released in two to three days provided there are no outstanding medical bills. At this point a civil registry death certificate and a doctor’s death certificate will be issued.
  • If the death is suspicious, it will remain with the examiner until an autopsy has been concluded.
  • Cremation is normal funerary practice in Thailand and there are many practices with multilingual directors to guide you through the process. There are also several options for the ashes which they can discuss with you.
  • Repatriation is complex and expensive. If you have insurance, check your cover and make sure that your relatives are aware of the cover and your wishes regards this. Embalming will be required and the Embassy will need to assist with travel documentation.

While it is not a pleasant subject to think about, if you are an expat living in Thailand, it is worth taking some time to prepare for your eventual demise. The easier you can make it for the loved ones you leave behind, the better so make sure you have your will sorted, documentation clear and easily accessible and your wishes with regard to your final send-off known.

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2018-06-05T07:59:04+00:00

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