LATER life advice line is a non-profit organisation dealing families who are facing an end of life situation.
This may be families who need advice for a loved one who is in a critical illness phase, or simply families who see the necessity to put in place arrangements for when the situation may be relevant.
We do not charge for our services, and at times may advise families to use experts in certain fields for correct and necessary planning.
How we started
Unfortunately having been in the position of dealing with a friend who had lost a mother who had taken out an equity release on her property, which forcing her daughter to decline the inheritance, and seen the problems that can be caused by insufficient planning at the end of ones life.
It seemed to us that it was vital to setup a service whereby we can protect and try and prevent people making similar errors. In my friends case, had she accepted, the inheritance, she could have become liable for the negative equity situation left by her mother., and her mothers extended list of debts.
So at the end of 2017 we set up a nonprofit organisation, with the aim of protecting families from making similar errors.
Later life advice line was established with one aim – to help families and loved ones make arrangements, so that they can understand the intricacies of dealing with the Spanish authorities.
It is vitally important that families understand how the process of the loss of a loved one is dealt with and how it works in Spain. Example, the difference between English and Spanish wills.
What needs to be done, in order to facilitate a funeral in Spain, example dealing with the civil registry, and the embassies. Dealing with taxation and death duties. Getting any of this wrong can be extremely costly experience, and it is so vital to have things in place before the loss of a loved one.
Our mission, is to educate families to the best of our abilities, and to protect them through the use of a team of professional people, who will be able to advise on the intricacies of death.
We offer guidance and support on any aspects of death. We often use the phrase, “if we don’t already know the answer, we will know someone who does.” We understand it can be a difficult time to plan for the day of one’s own immortality, or a family member. But by not taking that into consideration, the knock on effects this can have on those family members left behind is immense.
The taxation system in Spain is brutal, for example, if there is no will in place, what happens. Yet it is a relatively simple thing to arrange and not particularly expensive, the ramifications can be immense.
We continually strive to improve and extend our services, and we constantly updating the advice that we give to families, as the rules in Spain change constantly.
What to expect when your loved ones passes
On the day of passing, we strongly advise that you already have an undertaker in mind, as this will streamline the process tremendously.
Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous undertakers in Spain, and if your loved one passes in a hospital, within minutes of their passing, you will be dealing with phone calls, from undertakers who will offer all sorts of services, and in many cases, be totally unsympathetic to your mental state, creating further stress.
It is a little known fact that many hospitals do not have sufficient storage facilities. Unfortunately, you will be pressurised not only by funeral companies, but also by hospitals to remove your loved one very quickly.
It is vital, to choose your funeral company carefully, and particularly to use a funeral company who speaks your language, as it is a very daunting situation to be in a foreign country with a foreign language when you’re dealing with the Spanish authorities.
Things which need to be done
- Collection of your loved one, from the place where the passing took place, and to be placed in care of suitable undertakers.
- Arrangement of death certificates, from the hospital, or medical professional, which will be needed to get authorisation from a judge at the civil registry, for cremation or burial.
- Cancellation of the passport, at your consulate.
- Arrangement of the funeral service, in accordance with the families wishes, be it a religious, or non-religious service.
- Ordering flowers if so wished by the family, often left to the undertakers.
- On the day of the funeral, preparation of the body for viewing if so wished.
- Transportation of the loved one to the Church, crematorium or its resting place.
- A few days after the servers, your undertaker will meet with the family to return the death certificates and passport. In the case of a cremation the undertaker will return the ashes at the same time. At this time, the undertaker should return, six copies of the death certificates, although different regions differ. Three of them will be International certificates, with a translation of several languages on the back of the page. There will be a further three Spanish certificates. It is important to know that additional certificates can be applied for which takes approximately a week to 10 days to arrive.
- If you wish to travel, with the ashes of your loved one, an additional certificate should be supplied to you at this time from the crematorium stating the information necessary for you to go through customs at the airport. The ashes will need to be carried as hand luggage, and you will be approached by the police at the airport, and they have the right to insist that urn be open for inspection. ( although to date, I have never known them to do this.) It is at this point that it will be necessary to produce the travelling document. It is important to realise, that unfortunately, that many people go through this process, and that the police are used to dealing with people travelling with their loved ones. So do not be daunted by this task. It is a fairly simple process.
Dealing with the Spanish authorities
The best advice we can offer regarding in dealing with Spanish authorities is to leave it to the experts. For example, we highly do not recommend families make the several trips that will be required to be civil registry office in Malaga themselves as it is extremely confusing and can only be dealt with in Spanish. Apart from that, it is a soul destroying process as you will be required to sit in queues lasting for several hours at time.
Additionally all documentation will be confusing and if you don’t work on a regular basis on them, and they not filled in correctly, can cause serious ramifications. These documents will need to be signed by a judge authorising for the cremation /burial process to take place, which is mandatory for every cremation throughout the whole of Spain. As you can imagine, one document out of place, and you start again.
Authorisation and documentation required to take ashes out of the country through customs at the airport.
Although we have briefly covered this topic already we feel that it is important to reiterate on this topic further, as it is a question we get asked several times a day.
Your funeral director will arrange the documents which will be required if you so wish to take the ashes of one’s loved ones to their country of origin. These documents are required at the airport customs, and if done correctly, will facilitate a smooth and non-problematic repatriation.
It is important, that your funeral Director is notified of your intention that you wish to repatriate the ashes, so they have the opportunity and warning to make sure that necessary documentation is in place.
Message from the team leader.
We at end of life advice line, are a warm and caring group of people who respect how difficult it must be in facing the mortality of our loved ones. We know that it is not easy to plan for the death of a family member or yourself, but we understand how important this process is to those left behind. We will deal with you, with respect and dignity, and we will be able to hold your hand and show your kindness.
If you wish to contact us, you can do so either by telephone on 0034 627767191, or visit www.laterlife.es