If a person dies in a hospital or a care home, the institution will issue a death certificate.
If a person dies of natural causes outside an institution, for example at home, you should call the deceased’s doctor or the emergency services (phone 144). They will confirm the death and issue a death certificate.
If a person dies as the result of an accident or a crime, you must notify the police.
If a person dies in a hospital or a care home, the institution will report the death.
If a person dies outside an institution, the deceased’s relatives must report the death to the appropriate authorities – usually the civil register office at the place of death – within two days.
The deceased’s relatives may authorise a third party, e.g. a private funeral director or the public funeral office, to report the death and take care of the formalities. Check your canton’s or commune’s website for options.
The person reporting the death must present the following documents:
deceased’s family booklet / partnership certificate
deceased’s passport / identity card
deceased’s settlement permit / residence permit (if the deceased is a foreign national)
The civil register office will issue written confirmation that the death has been reported and, once the death has been certified, a death certificate. These documents are required in order to proceed with the funeral.
Note: If a foreign national who does not live in Switzerland dies here, the death must be reported to the civil register office at the place of death. The passport or identity card of the deceased’s spouse or partner must also be submitted. The civil register office may request further documents.
when and how
The funeral can only take place after the civil register office has confirmed that the death has been reported.
Different funeral customs and practices exist in Switzerland. You can obtain information about this from your commune, the funeral office or a private funeral home. Discuss practical aspects such as the time and the place of the funeral and the procedure.
Type of funeral
In Switzerland you can choose to have either a cremation or a burial. Information on cremations and burial options (burial niche, columbarium or burial in a single, family or collective grave) is available from the funeral office or from the authorities in the deceased’s commune.
Many communes offer free burial or cremation for their deceased. If not, you can ask a funeral director to arrange the funeral. Request a cost estimate.
If a person dies abroad, the foreign authorities or deceased’s relatives usually notify the Swiss representation abroad (consulate or embassy).
You are responsible for submitting the foreign death certificate to the Swiss embassy or consulate, who will then forward it to the civil register office of deceased’s place of origin.
If you would like the funeral to take place in Switzerland, the Swiss embassy or consulate will help you with certain formalities for repatriating the deceased. However, the deceased’s relatives are primarily responsible for repatriation.
Certain matters must be regulated after the funeral. These include:
cancelling the deceased’s insurance policies (health, household, personal liability and accident insurance…)
cancelling the deceased’s old-age and survivors’ insurance and any life insurance, and requesting the survivors’ pension to which you may be entitled
asking the deceased’s employer if you are entitled to a survivors’ pension from their occupational pension fund (second pillar), to any severance pay and to the remaining payment of the deceased’s salary
notifying the deceased’s bank and the post office
cancelling newspaper subscriptions, public transport season tickets and memberships of societies and clubs, etc.
notifying the tax authorities
notifying the driver and vehicle licensing office if the deceased had a driving licence and a vehicle registered in their name
notifying the deceased’s landlord if they lived in rented accommodation. If the deceased lived alone, you must terminate the rental agreement and ensure that the apartment or house is vacated within the period provided for in the agreement.