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Funeral services and undertakers in Spain

The death of a relative or friend is always distressing. If it happens abroad, the distress can be made worse by practical problems.

You may be uncertain what to do next, or who to contact for advice. The information below is designed to help families through the practical arrangements that need to be considered where funerals are concerned.

Following the death of an Ex-patriot in Spain...

...the next of kin, or a formally appointed representative, must decide whether to repatriate the deceased to the home country, or carry out a local burial or cremation. If the deceased was covered by travel insurance, the next of kin must contact the insurance company without delay.

If there is no insurance cover, the family will have to meet the cost of repatriation or burial.

Death certificate

The death certificate, is issued by the Civil Registry (Registro Civil) at the Court Building (Juzgado) or at the Justice of the Peace (Juzgado de Paz). You should request as many copies as you need. The death can then be registered with your local Consular office.

Except in rural areas, Spanish undertakers are modern, well-equipped, and used to working with foreigners. Most have at least one English-speaking staff member.

Consular staff will pass on to the relevant Consulate in Spain the wishes of the next of kin about disposal of the body and details of who is taking responsibility for the costs involved.

Burials

If the circumstances of the death were not unusual, registration of the death is permitted and the body will be released for repatriation or burial within a few hours. Under a strict interpretation of Spanish law, burials should take place within 72 hours of death.

However, in the case of foreign nationals, the authorities will normally allow as much time as necessary, although this should not be longer than a few days. Spanish procedures differ significantly to those in other countries.