Steps to follow after the decease of a relative or family member in Spain
In the majority of cases, when a family member pass away, we found ourselves in a situation in which we do not know what to do with documents, and steps to follow. These kind of actions improves the stress and the emotive situation in which we find after the loss of a loved.
In order to help you to understand the different steps to follow, we have created the following report to guide you and to help you in these difficult circumstances:
1.- Certificado Médico de Defunción (CMD) – Medical Death Certificate
In case the family member passes away at home, you need to call the emergency medical service, which, in Spain, is the 112. The attending Doctor will issue then the CMD. In case the action requires from additional certification from the Tribunals, a Judge should attend also the place, in order to decide the steps to follow then.
In the case the action occurs at the Hospital, that certificate will be used there.
The CMD constitutes the most official document to certify the death, and, it is very important to bring it to the Civil Registry office of the village/Town.
Usually, the certificate can be obtained directly by the funeral company which managed the funeral as this uses to be included in their services.
In that document is shown the name of the doctor, the death’ cause and the complete name of the deceased.
2.- Check if there was a “Funeral Plan” contracted
In case there was a Funeral plan contracted, the insurance company will carry out of the process. They will take care of the funeral, CMD, etc.
3.- Funeral Services
Funeral Services start when the Doctor issues the CMD.
Funeral company will take care of the different steps and actions as: choosing the coffin, transferring the deceased to the funeral house, ceremonies, and transfer of the corpse and burial at the chosen cemetery.
Funeral companies are responsible for providing many of these services, which could, or could not be included in the insurance of the deceased. Also, keep in mind that the cemetery charges a municipal fee for the burial or cremation of the body.
4.- Registration of death in the Civil Registry
The CMD must be registered at the Civil Registry office.
The declaration must be made in the Civil Registry of the municipality where the death occurred, within 24 hours of the death. You must provide the medical death certificate.
If not, the burial license will not be issued. In general, it is the funeral agents who are responsible for carrying out these procedures in the Civil Registry, on behalf of the family, but the relatives of the deceased can also go.
Exceptions to consider:
- If the place where the person has died is unknown, the death will be registered in the Registry of the place where the body is found.
- For the registration of deaths produced during a trip, the Registry of the place where the burial should take place or, failing that, the Registry of the town or city of first arrival will be competent.
- In the event of a shipwreck or an aerial catastrophe, the corresponding Register will be that of the place where the first steps are instructed. If no proceedings are conducted by the Spanish authorities, the jurisdiction will be determined by the place of the incident.
5.- The license and burial
The license is the authorization issued by the Civil Registry that allows the deceased to be buried or cremated. The burial must take place at least 24 hours after the time of death. After obtaining the death certificate and registering the death in the registry, the body can be buried or cremated.
This procedure is also responsible for the contracted funeral services
6.- Other less urgent procedures to carry out
After these priority procedures, other procedures begin that are not as urgent but cannot be ignored, such as:
- Procedures after the death of a relative with a Social Security pension
- Procedures to obtain a widow’s pension
- To deal with bank accounts
- To deal with the inheritance process, change names in property and other assets’ names, etc.
The best way to proceed?– Provide with a power of attorney to your Solicitor to deal with all the steps of the process in order to discharge you and your family about all the steps to follow in Spain.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please, pay attention that the Spanish administration requires the inheritance process to be completed before 6 months from the date of the death.
For more info about the Inheritance process, just visit our specialised section: