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Coping with the death of a loved one

Grand arbre

This section informs the loved ones of someone who has passed away of the main administrative formalities to be completed in Geneva. It also addresses the questions of funerals, inheritance and financial support for surviving members of family.

Associated administrative procedures:

⚠ Important information concerning the situation of the new coronavirus: the undertakers, cemeteries and crematorium service is adapting to the extraordinary health situation.More information on the measures taken by the City of Geneva

Contacting the undertaker

In addition to organising the funeral, there is also a number of mandatory and optional procedures to be carried out.

In the event of a death, we recommend that you first contact the undertakers, cemeteries and crematorium service which will answer any questions you might have and will guide you with regard to the procedures to be carried out. Since 1866, this service has, with great dignity, overseen the organisation of funerals from the declaration to the civil registry office to the burial or cremation of the deceased. You can also contact a private undertaker.

Main administrative formalities

Registering a death with the civil registry office

In the City of Geneva, the undertakers, cemeteries and crematorium service is responsible for recording the death.

The death of a loved one must be declared within two days to the civil registry office of the administrative district in which the death occurred.

In the event of a death in a hospital, a social healthcare institution or a prison, it is the institution’s responsibility to declare the death.

In the event of a death at home, it is important to have the death recorded immediately by a doctor. The latter prepares an initial certificate of death, which is essential when declaring the death to the civil registry office.

Once a death has been recorded, a death certificate can be issued.

Announcing a death to different institutions

Once a death has been recorded, the civil registry office is responsible for informing the following institutions directly:

  • Cantonal Bureau of Population and Migrations;
  • Inheritance Service;
  • Justice and Peace Service;
  • OASI unit;
  • Municipality of residence and of origin;
  • Consulate.

However, the family of the deceased is responsible for informing the following services or people in writing:

  • services linked to the place of residence: manager or lessor, telephone company, industrial services;
  • financial or insurance services: bank, post office, tax administration, insurance companies;
  • employer;
  • OASI fund to be contacted by phone: consult the telephone directory to obtain the phone number relating to the OASI number of the deceased.

The practical fact sheet concerning the procedure to be followed in the event of a death, available for download at the bottom of the page, contains a list of contacts to be informed as well as a letter template for announcing a death.

Formalities in the event of a death abroad

If a Swiss citizen dies abroad, the relevant foreign authority informs the Swiss diplomatic representation concerned. As a loved one, you can also submit the death certificate prepared abroad to the Swiss diplomatic representation in the country in which the death occurred, which will in turn hand it on to the municipality of origin of the deceased.

If a person wanted their final resting place to be in Switzerland, the Swiss diplomatic representation also handles the documents necessary for repatriation. In Geneva, the undertakers, cemeteries and crematorium service organises the transfer of the body to Switzerland or its transport abroad (by plane only).

Organising a funeral

Funerals can only be held 48 hours after the death at the very earliest and only after the civil registry office has been notified of the death.

An undertaker to support you

The City of Geneva deals with all the formalities and reservations linked to the farewell ceremony and the different orders in order to relieve loved ones of any additional worry. Specialist staff:

  • advises the families in mourning when choosing a coffin, an urn or any other funerary item;
  • assumes responsibility for organising the funeral procession and the ceremony, and for transporting the body to Switzerland or abroad (by plane only);
  • advises loved ones concerning the drafting of obituaries.

Telephone helpline

telephone helpline is available 24/7 and 365 days a year to ensure that a death can be handled quickly.

Means of burial

If the deceased did not make any provision in his/her last will or did not leave a testament, his/her loved ones must decide on the means of burial. The undertakers, cemeteries and crematorium service can offer advice. The two most common means of burial are:

Cremation

The body is cremated and the ashes can be collected in an urn. This urn is given to the loved ones, who can place it in a columbarium at the cemetery or keep it at home. The ashes can also be scattered in a garden of remembrance. Find out more about cremation

Burial

The deceased is placed in a coffin which is buried in the cemetery. Depending on the cemetery, you can choose between an individual grave and a family vault.

For more detailed information concerning the means of burial, the costs and the formalities, please contact the undertakers, cemeteries and crematorium service directly.

Funeral homes and cemeteries in Geneva

The City of Geneva has several funeral facilities: two funeral homes and four cemeteries are available within the city.

Cost of a funeral

The undertakers, cemeteries and crematorium service advises and accompanies families in mourning throughout the entire Canton of Geneva while helping them avoid unnecessary spending. In particular, it provides inhabitants of the city with free funerals under certain conditions and assumes responsibility for members of La Flamme.

Inheritance

When a person dies, you must also deal with the questions of inheritance. A practical guide is available which helps you deal with the deceased person’s estate and indicates the main people to contact.

Survivors’ pensions

In the event of the death of a spouse or a parent, the surviving members of the family (spouse, registered partner, children) receive a survivors’ pension. This aims to prevent surviving members of family from falling into poverty following the death of their relative. It can take different forms:

  • widow’s or widower’s pension;
  • orphan’s pension.

People living together under common law do not receive any widow’s or widower’s pension.

For more information concerning survivors’ pensions, visit the Swiss authorities’ online portal or the OASI information centre website

Contact

Service des pompes funèbres, cimetières et crématoire

20 Avenue de la Concorde

1203

Genève

Suisse

Contact

Service de l'état civil

37 Rue de la Mairie

1207

Genève

Suisse

Tél. +41224186650

Fax. +41224186651

Email

Service de l'état civil

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Article modifié le 25.09.2020 à 17:05