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Deaths and Estates
 

The ACS Unit and the consular officers provide assistance when a U.S. citizen dies in Bolivia. The degree and nature of consular assistance depends upon whether the U.S. citizen was accompanied by a family member or representative and whether he or she was visiting or living in Bolivia.

The ACS Unit can provide advice on funeral homes that prepare remains for shipment to the U.S. and will issue a Consular Report of Death which serves as a death certificate for probate and other legal purposes.

In the case where an unaccompanied U.S. citizen dies in Bolivia, a consular officer will act as provisional conservator of the deceased's personal estate and will take custody of his or her portable personal effects. As provisional conservator, the consular officer's duties include arranging for the delivery effects or the legal next of kin, subject to local laws. In general, real property or contested property will be disposed of in accordance with local Bolivian law.

Disposition of Remains Report

Death of a U.S. Citizen

The American Citizen Services section can assist family and friends in the event of the death of an American citizen in Bolivia.  Our first responsibility is to locate and inform the official next-of-kin.  Once we locate the next-of-kin, we can act as a liaison in arranging the disposition of remains and help with forwarding personal effects.

The disposition of remains is affected by local laws, customs and facilities, which can be vastly different from those in the U.S.  The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges and shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable). We will work with any funeral home selected by the family to ensure proper documentation for shipment of remains to the United States.  Please be below a list of funeral homes that are familiar with international shipping requirements.

Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen in Bolivia

With a local death certificate and proof that the deceased is an American citizen, the Embassy will issue a Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad.  This document will serve to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.

The American Citizen Services in the Consular Section in La Paz, Bolivia can issue up to 20 copies of the Report of Death of an American Citizen, which are usually sufficient to settle matters in the United States (see link for example).

For additional copies see

 

Profile of Services Available in Bolivia

Bolivian law usually requires burial of an unembalmed body within 36 hours, 24 hours in case of infectious disease, which underlines the importance of prompt action, since no subsequent final disposition of the remains can be made until instructions are received from the closest relative.  If there is no Next-of-Kin or interested third party in Bolivia to make arrangements, the body must quickly be transported to a refrigerated storage facility. 

Embalming:
Embalming is carried out in accordance with local laws.  In most cases, the services fall short of those expected in the United States. 

Cremation:
There is no time limit within which remains must be cremated.

Autopsies:
An autopsy is performed in cases involving violent or suspected violent death (murder, suicide or accidental).  It is also performed in cases of natural death when it occurs in circumstances that are not clear (sudden or unexpected deaths).

Documentation Required for Exportation of Remains/Ashes/Cremains

To facilitate the exportation of the remains, the Embassy prepares a Consular Mortuary Certificate which includes flight details and consignee and incorporates the following documents:

1. An official Bolivian Death Certificate: This certificate is issued by the local Bolivian Civil Registry

2. Permit from the city (municipalidad)  to export remains

3.  Certificate of Embalming:  This document certifies the chemicals that were used for embalming the body.  This certificate is issued by the funeral home.

4. A Consular Mortuary Certificate issued by the Consular Section

5.  Affidavit by the Local Bolivian Mortician: An affidavit or sworn declaration by the undertaker or person responsible for packing the body for shipment should be attached to the Consular Mortuary Certificate.  This affidavit must state that the casket contains only the body of the deceased and the necessary clothing and packing.  This document is prepared by the Embassy

6. Transit Label issued by the Consular Section

Funeral Homes

The following morticians are familiar with the procedures for embalming, cremation, preparing the necessary documentation, and preparing and shipping remains.

The U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.

La Paz

Funeraria Valdivia

Av. Bush 1278, Miraflores

Phone:  591-2-222-4455,  591-2-222-5998

Contact: Adolfo Valdivia

 

Cochabamba

Funeraria Valdivia

Ave. Ayacucho # 490                                Ave. Blanco Galindo Km 7.5
Phone:  591-4-425-3083                          Phone: 591-4-443-0426

Santa Cruz

Funeraria Señor de Malta
Calle Cuellar No. 317
Phone: 591-3-332-3468/773-65976 
Contact: Edmundo Cardenas


Funeraria San Juan de Dios
Calle Santa Barbara No. 498, esq Cuellar
Phone: 591-3-333-1866/704-48819
Contact:  Magaly Claros

If the death occurs in Cochabamba or Santa Cruz, you can also try to contact the appropriate consular agent for assistance

Schedule of Costs (approximate) as of May 2012

Local burial with plot                                                   $1,000 - $1,500

                  without plot                                               $   700 - $1,700

Cremation is available in La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

Estimated cost of cremation                                         $1,000 -1,500 

Embalming                                                                    $  150-200

Preparation for shipment                                              $1,900-2,500

(including container and embalming)                                                     

Estimated shipment by air to Miami (human remains)   $1,500-1,800

(based on total weight 180 kilos)

Estimated shipment by air to Miami (human ashes)       $ 300-400

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