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Checklist for everything you need to do in the event of a death in the family until the funeral (part 1)

When a person related to you dies, there are many administrative tasks that need to be dealt with. Our checklist “Deaths- what to do before the funeral” will help you remember everything you need to do. The checklist “Deaths – what to do after the funeral” lists everything that needs to be dealt with after the funeral.

Obtaining a death certificate

Call the GP or the emergency physician (Tel. 144). The physician will issue a death certificate. If the person dies in an institution such as a hospital, retirement home or prison, the institution will issue a death notice. Once the death certificate or death notice has been issued, the body of the deceased person can be taken to the funeral home.

If the cause of death was an accident or a crime, the police must be notified to determine the exact course of events.

Police stations

Report of death

Depending on the place of residence of the deceased person, the next of kin must report the death to the following authorities within two days:

  • The register office at the place of death or
  • The funeral office at the place of residence of the deceased person.

Include the following documents (if available):

  • Medical death certificate or death notice
  • Residence confirmation / family record book
  • Identity card / passport / identification card
  • Permanent residence permit / residence permit (for foreign nationals).

The register office will then issue a death certificate.                                                                            

The death of foreign nationals not domiciled in Switzerland should also be reported to the register office at the place of death. The register office provides information on the required documents.

Addresses of Swiss civil register offices

Communal funeral office

Death abroad

If a Swiss citizen dies abroad, the foreign authority will inform the local Swiss representation in the country concerned. If this is not done, you, as a family member, may also give the foreign death certificate to a Swiss representation, which will send the document to the deceased’s commune of origin.

If a person wishes to be buried in Switzerland, the Swiss representation will also prepare the necessary documents for repatriation.

Swiss diplomatic/consular missions abroad

Notification

Be sure to inform the deceased’s next of kin, neighbours, friends and employer of his/her death. 

Organising the funeral

The funeral may take place at the earliest within 48 hours after the death and only after the relevant office has been notified. Funeral customs and formalities are regulated differently in Switzerland. Discuss the details of the funeral with the public officials at the register office or funeral office:

  • The deceased’s wishes regarding funeral arrangements
  • Transporting the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home
  • Type of funeral
  • Date, place, time and type of burial and memorial service
  • Request for a coffin or urn

Costs: contact the register office or the funeral office to find out what services are free of charge. Many communes offer a free burial or cremation for their deceased.

You can also instruct an undertaker to organise the funeral. Find out beforehand about the costs.

Undertakers in your area