What to do in the event of death
If a person dies at home
If a person dies at home, the family must first call a doctor. After confirming exitus, the doctor will issue a medical certification of death. Only then may the deceased be collected and taken to a mortuary.
If a person dies in a hospital or home
Nursing staff in hospitals and homes naturally know what the procedure is when a person dies. They will summon a doctor to confirm exitus and issue a medical certification of death. The hospital or home will send the original medical certification of death and death notice straight to the civil registry office, giving the deceased’s family a copy of both documents. The nursing staff will also tell the family how long the deceased can remain in the room and whether the hospital or home has a mortuary in which the deceased can be laid out. In most cases, the staff will also organise the transfer of the deceased to a mortuary where the family can bid farewell.
Accidental death and suicide
An accidental death or suicide must be reported to the police. The district medical officer will also be consulted. The deceased in most such cases will be transferred to the Institute of Forensic Medicine to clarify the time, cause and manner of death. This post mortem examination can take several days. The deceased can be buried or cremated only after the Institute of Forensic Medicine has completed its examination.
Reporting a death
Every death in the City of Zurich must be reported to the Funeral and Cemeteries Office within two days.
Deaths must be reported in person by a member of the deceased’s family or a person authorised to act on their behalf. If you are reporting a death, please remember to bring the following documents with you:
- a copy of the medical certification of death (or the original if the deceased died at home)
- a copy of the death notice if the deceased died in a hospital or home
- confirmation that the deceased was a registered inhabitant of the commune (for foreign nationals their ID and passport)
- the family register
Before making the journey to our offices in the Cityhall (in German Stadthaus), please give some thought to the following questions:
- Did the deceased express any last wish?
- Is the deceased to be buried or cremated?
- When and where is the funeral to take place?
What type of grave would you like?
Agreement on Funeral Arrangement Wishes
Residents of the City of Zurich may deposit their personal funeral requests with the Funeral and Cemeteries Office. Their wishes will be communicated to the persons reporting the death.