In English, if someone visits a grave or goes to a funeral of someone who has died, we can say he is going "to pay his respects" or "to pay his last respects." While it's hard to explain what this means, it can involve saying goodbye, expressing grief and admiration, and reminiscing about the life of the departed person.

Is there a similar phrase in Spanish for what someone is doing when they visit the grave of a departed friend or family member?

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The English verb "pay" can actually be used with some other nouns to form idioms including "attention", "homage", and of course "respect".

While my Larouuse Gran Diccionario doesn't cover the precise formula here with "one's" and "last" or "final" it does cover the more general paying of respect:

she paid her respects to the President presentó sus respetos al presidente

A Google search for "presentar últimos respetos" seems to indicate that besides Spanish using "presentar" for "pay" that they expressions are otherwise literal translations of one another.

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