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My family member passed away in Argentina, I am in the United States
July 24, 2023

My family member passed away in Argentina, I am in the United States

The passing of a loved one is always difficult but when the death is abroad, the process becomes especially confusing.  Below are some steps to follow:

  • Contact the insurance company of your loved one to confirm whether it covers funerary expenses, cremation and/or shipment of remains to the United States. Insurance companies work with some funeral homes only.
  • Hire a funeral home in Argentina. If you desire to ship the remains to the United States, you will be required to hire the service of a funeral home in the United States as well.
  • The Argentine funeral home will assist with the issuance of an Argentine death certificate and any other authorization required from their side.
  • Consider the following options for the final destination of remains:
    • Interment in Argentina
    • Cremation
    • Shipping of remains to the United States
  • An autopsy is mandatory in Argentina when the death is sudden and the cause is unknown or there is a reasonable cause to suspect that the deceased died of a violent or unnatural death. A court will order an autopsy on the remains. The release of the remains may delay for weeks or months.
  • Most of the times, the Embassy will liaison with the Argentine court to get updates and convey family wishes for the final destination of the remains. Consider whether you should hire a local attorney to handle any ongoing legal proceedings in Argentina related to the death.
  • Only if the Embassy requests so, complete the Letter of Instructions including your decision on the disposition of remains and personal effects. Have it notarized before a notary public in the United States and apostilled and email it at BuenosAires-ACS@state.gov. Attach a photocopy of your ID and relationship to your loved one (for e.g. birth or marriage certificate). The Embassy will confirm whether the original documents should be mailed to Argentina by private courier service.