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Monday, January 19, 2009

Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad

Each year, over 6,000 Americans die abroad. Most of them are Americans who live overseas, but, each year, a few thousand Americans die while on short visits abroad. One of the most important tasks of U.S. consular officers abroad is to provide assistance to the families of U.S. citizens who die abroad.

When an American citizen dies abroad, consular officers:

* confirm the death, identity and U.S. citizenship of the deceased
* make notification to the next-of-kin if they do not already know about the death, providing information about disposition of the remains and the effects of the deceased, and provides guidance on forwarding funds to cover costs
* serve as provisional conservator of the estate, absent a legal representative in country
* prepare documents for disposition of the remains in accordance with instructions from the next-of-kin or legal representative, and oversee the performance of disposition of the remains and of the effects of the deceased
* send signed copies of the Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad to the next-of-kin or legal representative, for use in settling estate matters in the U.S.

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