What follows death in Mexico?

By Ángel Marín Díaz

Ricardo Perez, from Southern California, asks:

Buenos días, Angel. Would you please explain what role the US Embassy plays in case I pass away here in lovely Mexico. Honestly, I have called them (US Embassy) many times but never have heard back. Gracias, Angel!

Angel responds:

Hello, Ricardo. Yes, even in post-COVID there is still a lot of backlog. Here is the role that the US consular services are supposed to play for a US citizen in Mexico:

The Office of Consular Affairs will locate and inform the next of kin of the death of the United States citizen and will provide information regarding how to arrange for the local burial or return of the remains to the United States.

The disposition of the remains is subject to the law of the United States and to the local laws of the country where the citizen died as well as to the customs requirements of the United States and abroad. Remains that are not claimed within the legal time limit and that remain unclaimed will be sent to a mass grave for burial.

The US state department has not allocated the financial resources to help return the remains or ashes of US citizens who die abroad to the family members; thus, the expenses must be paid by the relatives.

Costs and processes required are the medical death certificate, state-issued death certificate, notification of consular agency from the country of origin, embalming permits, travel permits for the deceased, and or the ashes (urn).

Powers of the US Consulate:

• Locate and notify family members.

• Provide legal information for the release of remains.

• Issue a report on the death of American citizens abroad.

• Consular mortuary certificate. Indispensable for the transfer of the body to the US (must be processed by the legal representative or funeral home).

• Assist in sending personal effects to the US.

Note: Return of remains to the United States and foreign law require the following documents before remains can be shipped from one country to another:

1. Mortuary certificate: The consular officer will prepare the consular mortuary certificate, which guarantees the sending of the remains and facilitates US customs clearance. It is in English and confirms the information on the cause of death. For this the following documentation is required:

2. Death certificate issued by the Mexico Civil Registration.

3. Embalming certificate.

4. Detailed information on transport to be used.

5. Information on the destination of the remains.

John and Jane, from Boston, ask: 

Hi, Angel. Thanks for doing this for the community. You are much appreciated! 

Our question is: We have seen many services offered posthumously to deal with the possible litigation and bureaucracy that follow the death of a foreigner in Mexico. They seem to be all over the place in prices and each advocacy group handles a piece of the puzzle, but none of them apparently handles the «all to all» circumstance, if you will. What do you recommend?

Angel responds:

Hi, John and Jane. You are absolutely right, there is a long list of things that need to be taken care of after a member of the guest community passes away, beginning with funeral services, medical death certificates, state-issued death certificates, notification to the embassy of the deceased’s country of origin before even entering next of kin notifications, and all subsequent situations such as distribution of estate assets (including liquid assets and personal possessions) and debt settlement. 

There is a “one-stop shop” policy available here in San Miguel de Allende that caters to all of this as well as interfaces with family left behind to ensure a smooth transition and a peaceful process for heirs that embraces and bridges the language barrier as well as contemplates the legal and fiscal ramifications for all.

This policy also covers the creation and inclusion of a primary emergency contact if something happens to you anywhere in the Mexican Federation as well as the creation of the numerous documents that are adapted to assimilate them under Mexican law, such as an advance medical directive, a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney and a DNR. The program is called AfterLife™ and is now available nationwide. You can get more information at www.inmtec.com or contact me directly at afterlife@inmtec.net.

Thank you all for your questions this week. For more specific information on Inmtec Legal Services™, Inmtec Title Services™, Inmtec Insurance™, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and AfterLife™ Medical Advocacy by Inmtec™, please contact Angel Marin Díaz at info@inmtec.net, 415 121 9005 or www.inmtec.com  

*AfterLife™ is a national program available exclusively through Inmtec™ that sees to the professional production of all the documents needed to oversee issues such as medical advocacy, pre- and post-death planning, the care and transport of physical remains, and all issues regarding probate and emergency contact communication with friends and family for the peaceful transition of assets.