My dead Brit sister was kept in a freezer in Spain for 2 months – now we’ve been slapped with £5,500 bill for her ashes | The Sun

THE grieving family of a Brit who died in Spain claim she was kept in a "freezer" for two months – and are now facing a £5,500 bill they can't afford to pay.

Carole Hawke, 74, died at her home near the village of Competa, southern Spain on June 30.

For six weeks after her death, Carole was kept in a freezer at a funeral home in Malaga and her family are still fighting to lay her to rest.

She was cremated on August 26, but the family say they have yet to see a death certificate and are now being asked to pay the home just over £5,460 for her ashes.

Her son, Dale, told The Sun that without access to her estate, he cannot afford to pay, and without a death certificate, he can't access the funds tied up in her estate.

The grieving family cannot afford to foot the huge bill for Carole's ashes and have found themselves stuck in a vicious cycle.


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He said: "They said they won’t release the ashes until the bill is paid.

"I’ve got nothing.

"My mum has to be laid to rest first before getting a death certificate.

"We still haven’t got a death certificate and without one we can’t do anything, we can’t do notary, we can’t do probate."

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Dale has since hired solicitors as part of the fight to get his mum's ashes released.

The family told The Sun that no one has been able to find her will, and her bank account has been frozen.

Without a death certificate, they can't move forward with probate to "prove" the contents of her will in court, allowing her family to hopefully access the money they need to bring her home.

When a British expat dies in Spain, the funeral director is responsible for registering the death, instead of the family as in the UK.

The registration, done through local Spanish civil registry, then means a family can get hold of their loved one's death certificate.

Carole's concerned son Dale, 46, flew to Spain on August 10 to see if he could get the death certificate, and start the process of cremation.

But he had to return to England just a week later without either.

His mum was cremated at the La Esperenza funeral home in Malaga, an hours drive from Competa, about a week after he landed back in the UK.

Dale is now facing the enormous bill from the funeral home, as well as lawyer fees, travel expenses and costs related to the villa without any hope of accessing her estate.

He told The Sun: "I went out there for a week. The villa was a state. It was awful to see how my mum was living in the last years of her life.

"I wanted to scatter my mums ashes, get her laid to rest. My mum's last wish was to get her ashes scattered next to my dad’s at her villa.

"I feel angry, I’m pretty upset, it’s the one thing I wanted to be able to do, give my mum peace."

Her sister Elizabeth, from Great Yarmouth, said Carole bought the villa she lived in with her husband, Roger, who died nine years ago.

Elizabeth, 73, has slammed the funeral home's treatment of her sister as "disrespectful".

She told The Sun they are "refusing to let them [Carole's ashes] go".

"They want their money first…It's been one big headache after another."

Former British army worker Carole dropped to around 4st after going into kidney failure, which she was receiving dialysis for before she died.

The mum-of-one had lived in Competa for 20 years after moving out there from Chelmsford, Essex, in 2003.

Elizabeth told The Sun: “My sister became unwell, she went downhill fast. I was getting worried as I couldn’t get hold of her. I asked the police if they could do a check but they said they didn’t do that.

"She was found by a paramedic who had come to take her to dialysis. It’s not nice the way she died. She died alone in the dark in her villa. She was too ill to change the lightbulbs."

The family want to scatter Carole's ashes in the garden of her villa, where her late husband and two dogs were also laid to rest.


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They told The Sun it was her last wish, but without the funds to pay the funeral home's bill, and no death certificate, the grieving family will likely be waiting a while to bring Carole home.

The Sun Online has reached out to La Esperenza funeral home for comment.

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