Death - What To Do?

In Switzerland, the procedure to be followed in the event of a death varies from municipality to municipality. As a rule, the burial office of the place of residence will be happy to provide information to the relatives of the deceased person. This guide is intended to provide a rough overview.

1. Obtain Death Certificate / Death Notification.

In case of death at home due to illness: Notify the family doctor. If he/she is not available, notify the emergency doctor (No. 144). The latter will issue a death certificate.

In case of death in hospital or home: If the person dies in a hospital or home, they will issue a death certificate.

In the event of death as a result of an accident, a crime or suicide: In all cases of death following an accident, the police must be notified and will clarify the exact circumstances.
Important: This applies not only to traffic accidents, but also to accidents at work, at home and during leisure time.

2. Report Death to the Authorities

Within 2 days, the next of kin of the deceased person must report the death to the funeral home or civil registration office at the deceased person's place of residence. Depending on the place of residence, the death must be reported to the Civil Registry Office.

The following documents are required for this purpose:

  • Medical death certificate / death notification
  • Certificate of receipt of documents / family booklet
  • Passport / identity card
  • Settlement permit / residence permit (for foreigners)

The authorities will then issue the death certificate.

3. Death Notice for the Information of Relatives, Friends, Employers

The municipality publishes a concise official death notice free of charge in the official gazette.
The quickest way to reach the people who need to be informed is with an online death notice. An online death notice costs CHF 95.00.
The cost of a traditional death notice in the newspaper is between CHF 500.00 and CHF 4000.00, depending on circulation, size and color.

4. Organize Funeral

The funeral may take place no earlier than 48 hours after the occurrence of death and only after notification to the competent authorities. The formalities of the funeral vary from region to region in Switzerland. The civil status or burial office of the deceased person's place of residence will usually be happy to help with the details of the burial.

Costs: Ask the authorities which services are provided free of charge. Many communities offer a free burial.

5. Settling Inheritance

Swiss federalism also comes into play when it comes to inheritance - depending on the last place of residence, the procedure for distributing inheritances and the authorities responsible for this vary. However, the authorities are always very helpful here and will inform you about the jurisdiction and the procedures.

Important for married survivors: dissolve the matrimonial property regime. Before the inheritance is divided, the assets and debts brought into the marriage or purchased during the marriage are divided between the two spouses.