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Last wishes - what would you do?

GillPJ

Registered User
Jun 2, 2020
80
One of mum's last wishes was for her ashes to be repatriated to England, the place where my dad's and brother's are. In wanting to be ahead of the game knowing the bureaucratic nightmare that is France, we got two funeral quotes today and inquired about repatriation. They can do some of the paperwork but that's all. We'd still need more paperwork, driver's identities, registration numbers, ID of the person receiving them (a UK crematorium). We have to organise the funeral within 24 hours of death, which is why I'm trying to get ahead, and that will mean deciding on the type of urn and paperwork.
That means we'd have to organise the transport/courrier ourselves (if anyone can do it, and we can't go) in the midst of this covid/brexit mess, as well as all the other unassociated paperwork that has to be done.
It would be so much easier to spread the ashes on our own land, just a quick permission from the mayor, and plant something in her memory. What would you do?
 

Quizbunny

Registered User
Nov 20, 2011
122
Would it not be possible to have the cremation in France and then collect the ashes with a view to bringing them back to the uk at a time when this would be more straightforward.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
689
Do you think it may prey on your mind if you scattered your mum's ashes on your own land? I think, if it were me, I would keep the ashes with the intention of taking them to England and scattering them there at a time when it were easier to do so.
 

GillPJ

Registered User
Jun 2, 2020
80
You're not allowed to keep the ashes at home in France, they'll keep them up to a year at the crematorium, but of course you have to pay for that as well.
Will it be straightforward after brexit? I have my doubts about that, there'll likely be very tangled regulations.
Yes I would feel very guilty, but at the same time these are extreme circumstances. I will try my best to organise it though.
It would actually be easier to be cremated in the UK (virus permitting), but it's twice the cost at least to do that, and I wouldn't be able to be there.
We're not exactly rolling in money only having state pensions and very small savings that we're going to need to get through the inheritance debacle.
I love France, but they make it very difficult to love it sometimes.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
21,046
North Manchester
I think you will find that if the ashes are transported to the UK as luggage in a private vehicle all the regulatory requirements vanish. The requirements relate to ashes being transported commercially.
The maison funéraire will require you to certify this before releasing the ashes.
Rules may have changed.
 

GillPJ

Registered User
Jun 2, 2020
80
But I don't know anyone who could transport them in a private vehicle. There's no way we could do it, with various animals and the quarantine issue.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,716
66
Toronto, Canada
Eight years ago my friend took half her husband's ashes back to the UK. We flew from Canada and I believe all she did was advise the airline she had the ashes with her. She didn't have any problems at customs.

When I had to bring back my father's ashes to Canada from Guatemala, it was fairly easy. We had the death certificate and fortunately we had chosen a wooden container which could be x-rayed. It was the same, we told the airline what we had and they were fine with it.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
21,046
North Manchester
Repatriation of ashes to UK
In order to repatriate ashes you should travel with the cremation certificate and the death certificate in order to present these to the airline and/or HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). The urn must have been sealed by the French Police/Gendarmerie.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...-death-abroad/france-bereavement-death-abroad .

You could store the ashes in France whist you decide, hopefully the need to quarantine on entry to the UK won't last forever.
Meanwhile you could check requirements with airlines.
After a year unclaimed ashes are scattered in the town where the death occurred.
 

GillPJ

Registered User
Jun 2, 2020
80
Thanks everyone. I've found quite a few companies that say they handle everything door to door, one estimate was £979 for a motorcycle courier (ouch, though it would probably cost more than that if we did it ourselves, with hotels, fares, etc.) so I may find a solution yet.
 

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