My condolences if your loved one has recently died. And if you’re wondering what happens here in Mallorca when a loved one dies, then well done! It’s vitally important that you know what to expect so that you’re ready to do what needs to be done and make the right choices. Death, whether sudden or not, is often a time when you’ll be emotionally vulnerable and having to make a lot of costly decisions so it is best to be prepared.

Depending on the deceased preference’s – if any – you’ll be choosing either a burial or a cremation, you may even choose repatriation if your loved one didn’t normally live here and you’ve got the insurance to cover taking the body home with you. Wherever you are, you can have a celebration of life ceremony with a celebrant or perhaps a religious service with a vicar or priest. You can even choose not to have a public memorial and just have a private family affair in the deceased’s favourite place, alone or with a celebrant to guide you.

The reality here in Mallorca is that most local funeral directors will be used to a local way of doing things and that usually means that everything is done and dusted within 48 hours! Now this might be too soon to be able to gather family members from abroad so it’s important that you advise your funeral director that you want to wait until the last possible day to allow for them to arrive, this is usually seven days. Local funeral directors might assume you’re religious and offer the local priest for a church ceremony, most are not quite sure what a celebrant does yet! If your loved one wasn’t religious then a church service might not appeal to you and you can either find a celebrant or perhaps prepare a ceremony yourselves. Most of the crematoria on the island have a chapel where non religious ceremonies can be held and at the time of making your arrangements, why not enquire if one is available and of course the costs involved.

When a loved one dies in a hospital or clinic, you will be provided with a list of funeral directors from which to choose, the hospital is not allowed to appoint a funeral director for you! An obvious choice would be one known to you or from the town or village where you live. No matter what time of day or night, they will be able to take your call and deal immediately with your needs. Funerals are costly, running into a few thousand euros, and you may be overwhelmed by all the decisions you’ll be needing to make. Perhaps taking a good friend can help but if you’re reading this article now, perhaps keeping aside the necessary money in a bank account, with you as account holder, is the best idea of all.

If a loved one has died at home or perhaps in suspicious circumstances, you’ll still have to choose your own funeral director but first the doctor has to come and pronounce death. Again, if family need to fly in to the island, tell the funeral director then and there that you need to wait a few days before you do anything.

Whilst you might feel strange or even weird considering the implications of this short article, being ready is thinking about the what if! We are all going to die and just as we save for our children’s education, perhaps saving for our funerals would be a good investment!

To the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure. (J.K. Rowling)