Angloinfo Text_Death Abroad in Indonesia


Death Abroad in Indonesia

Some Background on Civil Registration & Vital Statistics in Indonesia
Government collection and archiving of Vital Statistics are administered at the regency, or kabupaten level in Indonesia.  The office responsible is the Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil (Populations and Civil Registration Administration).  It is also called for short: Administrasi Kependudukan (Population Administration).  This office is usually located within the greater Kantor Bupati, or government complex as found in the capital of the regency.
In general, this office offers the kabupaten’s Indonesian residents the following services, all of which are supported by legal documentation:

This office files and legally acknowledges certifications and registrations for securing legal standing.  It also issues cards, certificates and other legal documents.  Issuances certify, replace, and/or update the following:

Foreign nationals residing in the kabupaten must register and report any change of status as regards to the entire list of vital statistics above.
The death of a foreign national who died while visiting or traveling in any given kabupaten must be reported to the Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil.

Reporting a Death in Indonesia
Who makes the initial report and to whom?
Contacting Local Authorities
Whoever does the initial reporting, the proper authority to contact is the local police.A doctor can be contacted for some primary medical aid, but the police best be alerted immediately after if not at the same.
Reporting the death can be made by any number of persons, depending on the circumstance.  Let’s make note from the outset, though: Reporting the death is not the same as registering the death. Registration is discussed in next section.  
If, for instance, the deceased foreigner was a tourist traveling alone, then the responsibility for reporting the death might fall with the proprietor of the hotel where the foreigner is staying.  This is in keeping with the hotel’s legal obligation to report any foreign guest to the local police within 24 hours of check-in.  If the foreign tourist dies outside the hotel those who find the body or witness the death should call the police immediately.  The deceased will hopefully be carrying a passport, and by means of this identification the police can check for the hotel.  Entering the hotel, police will secure belongings and legal papers from the hotel room.  If the deceased is not carrying identification and no one knows his or her hotel, the police will be forced to investigate.  This is one reason why foreigners are expected to carry their passports.  Everyone is Indonesia is expected to carry identification.  Indonesians, for example, are supposed to carry their National ID cards wherever they go.
If the foreigner dies while at a restaurant, diving, or trekking with a guide, the individual or businesses which have contracted and provided services would be expected to report the incident.
If the foreigner is a temporary or permanent resident, their sponsor, employer, roommate, landlord, or neighbor will most likely make the report.  If the deceased is married and accompanied by their spouse, the spouse would most likely be expected to take the responsibility.  If the deceased’s spouse is Indonesian, that spouse or a member of the spouse’s family would most likely report the death.
Common sense applies.  All that the authorities really care about is that the death is reported in a timely fashion. (See more below on time limits)
Contacting the Appropriate Foreign Embassy or Consulate
Just as important is contacting the foreign national’s Foreign Embassy or Consulate.  By law the Indonesian authorities contacted are required to contact the deceased’s foreign embassy.  If you are a foreign national both accompanying and related to the deceased at the time of death, it is best to contact the embassy personally.  You might be able to better communicate the situation. The embassy will give you vital help in how best to proceed given your relationship to the deceased.
Ultimately, the Foreign Embassy’s consular service has the greater legal responsibility to deal with the death of one of their nationals on foreign soil.  Under some circumstances a consular officer or a bona fide agent might be personally dispatched from either the Indonesian-based embassy or consulate in order to pick up the body for disposition.  That might include arranging for the human remains to be shipped back to the country of origin.
NOTE:  Consular Services have very little power to investigate suspected foul play or mysterious deaths.  Indonesian authorities are not bound by law to cooperate with investigations led by foreign officials.   
On the other end, the foreigner’s embassy is required to contact next-of-kin in the home country.  Such services are handled by each country differently, and the quality of service can vary significantly.  For example, American law requires the U.S. Embassy’s Bureau of Consular Affairs to find next of kin.  The Bureau of Consular Affairs has the following responsibilities:
A U.S. consular officer overseas has statutory responsibility for the personal estate of an American who dies abroad if the deceased has no legal representative in the country where the death occurred. The consular officer takes possession of personal effects, such as:

The officer prepares an inventory and then carries out instructions from members of the deceased’s family concerning the effects. In Washington, the Bureau of Consular Affairs gives next-of-kin guidance on procedures to follow in preparing Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, and Affidavits of Next-of-Kin as acceptable evidence of legal claim of an estate.”
Family members with a relative traveling or living in Indonesia should familiarize themselves with their foreign embassy’s legal responsibilities when a national suffers injury or death abroad.  The same goes for the traveler, too. Consular services are listed and published on embassy websites. (See below for more details)
Time Limits for Reporting the Death of a Foreigner
Within populated, accessible areas, Indonesian law imposes a three day limit for reporting a foreigner’s death to the police.  If the foreigner is a temporary or permanent residence this also applies to contacting the neighborhood administration (Catatan Sipil) where the foreigner has registered as living.  The Catatan Sipil will most likely be notified by the police in turn, but this cannot be assumed.
If the death happens in a very remote area, a week or ten days might be considered acceptable.  Applications of law vary by region and according to circumstance.

Registering a Foreigner’s Death
First Step: Post-Mortem by a Doctor
The police will make arrangements to have the body transported to a hospital morgue.  I n a metropolitan area, the hospital chosen will most likely be a general public medical center equipped with a public morgue. The attendant doctor at the morgue will perform a post-mortem examination.  If the body is located in a remote area, the examination may have to take place in a local clinic or doctor’s office if a hospital is not available.
After making the examination, the doctor will fill out a Surat Keterangan Pemeriksaan Mayat, or Post-Mortem Examination Report.  If foul play or other special extenuating circumstances surround the death, an autopsy might be demanded by the police for purposes of their own investigation.  Normally autopsies are not performed.
Under normal circumstances, post-mortem examinations are conducted very quickly in Indonesia.  As nearly 90% of the population is Muslim, this is a necessity.  Muslim law calls for the deceased to be buried by sunset of the day of death if possible. Almost all burials are performed within a 24 hour period.  (See more in the funeral section)
After post-mortem the doctor completes a formal Surat Kematian, or Doctor’s Death Certificate.  A copy of this will later have to be filed as part of the complete registration of death with the Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil (Populations and Civil Registration Administration) at the
regency level.

The body will remain in cold storage at the hospital morgue until registration has been completed and next of kin have made arrangements to make disposition of the remains.

Who is the deceased?  Foreign Traveler versus Resident
If the deceased is a traveler passing through, then the police will determine just how to report to the civil authorities.  This becomes a non-issue for the embassy or next of kin.
If you are related to and accompany the deceased, you should establish the nature of your relationship with the police and let them know you want to stay apprised of developments.  Depending on how you are related you may be asked to provide some information and possibly appear in person to register the death with local administrators.  As soon as the deceased’s passport and other personal identification are available to the police, they will advise and direct the procedure. You should follow their advice and direction.
Contacting the Kepala Catatan Sipil
If the deceased was an Indonesian resident, the local Catatan Sipil, or Office of the Head of Village/Neighborhood should be contacted at the same time the body has been moved to the hospital morgue.  The office will be located in the neighborhood where their residence had been previously registered.  This administrative office will have records of the deceased’s address and other vital statistics.  
Whoever is reporting must fill out a form, and most likely it is only available in Bahasa Indonesian. Based on the information on the form, the Kepala will draft a Surat Laporan Kematian, of Letter of Notification of Death as addressed to the Kependukukan dan Pencatatan Sipil. 
A copy of this letter will be given the person who reported, and it must be eventually be passed on the the Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil at the regency level.  
Providing Proper Identification to the Kepala
The foreigner will be registered as living in the Kepala’s neighborhood, and they may want to see the deceased’s passport, visa, and police report to verify the death.  Be aware that their request may be according to local custom.
Before drafting the letter, it is possible the Kepala will also request seeing one or more of the following documents to help identify the deceased’s true identification.  The reason for this is that the deceased would have previously reported and requested these documents from the Catatan Sipil as is required of all temporary or permanent residents:

Remember that bureaucratic practices vary across Indonesia.  If you are involved in reporting and have problems getting a the Letter of Notification from the Catatan Sipil, report this to the local police.

A fee may or may not be requested for the Kepala’s time and issuance of the letter.   If a fee is required, it will be nominal, especially given a death is involved.

Contact and Registration with the Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil
For proper registration with the Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil (Populations and Civil Registration Administration) at the regency level, the following documents must be filed:

NOTE: The SKPPT and SKPPS are issued by the Catatan Sipil.  A foreign resident will only be issued one or the other based on their residency status.
An Akta Kematian, or Registration of Deathwill be issued and contains little more than the following information:

If a relative or spouse of the deceased; or consular representative is present for the registration, one or more copies of the registration certificate will be issued.   
NOTE:  The AKTA Kematian will be written in Bahasa Indonesia only.
Of what use is the AKTA Kematian?
The AKTA Kematian is known outside of Indonesia as a “Foreign Death Certificate”.  It primarily serves Indonesia’s registration of vital statistics purposes.  It is of limited use outside the country, and often makes notification official that the death abroad took place in Indonesia.  Usually it is not accepted for insurance and estate purposes.
There will be fees associated with this entire procedure.  Some offices may not charge anything.  Exact cost will vary according to region.  Hospital costs will make up the significant portion.  Post-mortem examinations and cold storage of the remains will make up the bulk of what is charged overall.
Next of kin will be responsible for payment, and often the Foreign Embassy involved will compile and deliver the bills.  Each embassy handles this differently.  The embassy has the responsibility to explain all related details to the next of kin.  If the foreign national is married to an Indonesian, either the spouse of the next of kin in the country of origin will be expected to pay what is owed.

If a deceased foreigner has no family ties inside of Indonesia, the appropriate Foreign Embassy will notify next of kin in the native country.  Most often the next of kin will decide and instruct the embassy as to what to do with the remains of their loved one as well as any personal effects. 
Consular services vary a lot from country-to-country.  You will have to check with your own Foreign Embassy in Indonesia for specifics.  Some countries will make all arrangements for next of kin making a family trip to Indonesia unnecessary.  Other countries will expect a family member to arrive and take care of most everything with a little added help.
 The U.S. Foreign Embassy’s Bureau of Consular Affairs offers an impressive list of services.  For comparative purposes, it is equivalent to the gold standard.  The Bureau:

The U.S. also produces a Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad, and sends the next of kin ten copies at no fee. This report is:

In effect, next of kin can arrange to have remains flown back to America all by phone. Note that these services will come at a premium cost.  If the costs can’t be borne by the next of kin, other arrangements will have to be made.
Ideally all embassies would provide such services but that isn’t the reality. 

If a next of kin is required or chooses to personally pick up remains and fly back home, their embassy/consulate office in Jakarta or Bali will provide some form of help.  Embassies normally help with processing the documents needed to release remains and have them prepared for air transport.
Details also depend on just who the deceased is and what they were doing in Indonesia. An embassy employee will be treated differently than a vacationer. This is a complex, variable procedure that involves multiple Indonesian offices, (including Indonesian immigration), possibly the deceased’s employer, the morgue, and the particular airline involved.  Every circumstance is different. 
Not all foreign embassies function according to the same working procedures either.  It is best to contact your embassy for specific information.  
If lack of money is an overriding issue, the next of kin can choose to have their loved one buried or cremated in Indonesia. Both are legal options.
In most cases, Indonesia buries or cremates their dead quickly.  Authorities most likely won’t impose a strict time limit on next of kin who are required to travel to Indonesia in order to pick up remains.  You must check with your embassy on this important detail and urge them to give all the help they can.
If an Indonesian burial or cremation is the choice, many people will opt to hire a funeral service.  Considering that a spouse or next of kin is in the midst of grieving, this sample procedural list for an Indonesian cremation in Bali gives a good example as to why an agency might be considered:

Estate Planning for Foreign Residents Married to an Indonesian
If a foreign resident has relocated to Indonesia and in the process marries an Indonesian, it is best the foreigner make estate arrangements that minimize possible conflicts between next of kin in their native country and their new family in Indonesia.  This also applies to funeral arrangements.
Let us assume the foreign resident is married, has written a last will and testament, and stipulates the desire to be buried in Indonesia.  In the case of death, the funeral will be administered by his or her Indonesian spouse.  Being married, the foreigner will customarily share the same religion as the spouse. That religion will determine the exact nature of the funeral, and whether the body is to be cremated or buried.  

Euthanasia and Assisted Legal Suicide
Neither euthanasia nor assisted legal suicide is legal in Indonesia.