Death and funerals

In case of deaths, a physician must issue a death certificate and a deceased must either be buried or cremated

In case of deaths, a physician must issue a death certificate and a deceased must either be buried or cremated

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Immediately after a death, a physician must report the death electronically and a death certificate can subsequently be issued. If the death has occurred at the deceased’s home, it is the deceased’s own general practitioner or a doctor on call who will issue the death certificate. If the death occurs at a hospital, a hospital physician will issue the certificate. In most cases where the death has been reported electronically, it will not be necessary for the burial authority to have the death certificate submitted. However, there may be cases where it is necessary that the death certificate is submitted to the burial authority.

For further guidance, you may contact the burial authority in the parish in which the deceased lived.

Start Apply for survivor benefits

What are survivor benefits?

  • Survivor benefits are a lump sum which you can apply for if your spouse or common-law partner dies.

Who can get survivor benefits?

You can apply for survivor benefits if your spouse or common-law partner dies and you:

  • have lived in the estate together with your spouse or common-law partner for the past three years prior to the death in Denmark or another EU/EEA country or Switzerland
  • are subject to Danish social security legislation, or you as a pensioner receive sickness benefits paid for by Denmark, or you as a co-insured family member together with your now deceased spouse receive sickness benefits paid for by Denmark
  • do not receive or have previously received survivor benefits, meaning that you have not received your spouse’s or common-law partner’s disability pension or state-funded old-age pension for three months after his or her death
  • earn less than DKK 372,893 per year (2017), including assets.

If you want to apply for survivor benefits click on "Start".

The deadline for applying is six months after the spouse’s or common-law partner’s death.

If there are no relatives or other next of kin of the deceased, it is the deceased’s municipality of residence that must report the death. Similarly, the municipality must pay the expenses for the funeral. In such a situation, the municipality will also decide on the form of the funeral and the municipality will take possession of the estate of the deceased.

When the notification of a death has been registered with the Civil Register, the bank accounts of the deceased will normally be frozen. Also joint bank accounts will be frozen, and a surviving spouse will not be able to draw money from the account until after the first probate court meeting.

When a citizen dies, all access to the mailbox will be blocked. It means that the access of the deceased citizen will be discontinued as well as that of any persons who were granted reading access. Similarly, the authorities can no longer forward mail to the Digital Post of the deceased.

If you as a surviving relative wish to gain access to the Digital Post of the deceased, this can be done if you forward a copy of the probate court certificate to e-Boks og Digital Post (online digital mailbox). If, for example, a widow retains undivided possession of an estate, she may gain access to her late husband’s mailbox by forwarding a copy of the probate court certificate to e-Boks / Digital Post, which will then be able to provide reading access. The deceased’s mailbox and its contents are deleted after five years.

If you are a relative of a deceased and you must decide whether the deceased is to be buried or cremated, you must do so by filling in a request form for either burial or cremation.

Burial

In connection with a burial, the deceased will be placed in a coffin and buried in the cemetery.

Cremation

In connection with cremation, the deceased will be cremated at a crematorium and the ashes subsequently placed in an urn, which may be buried in the cemetery. It is also lawfully possible to scatter the ashes over the sea.

Furthermore, since 1 August 2008 it has been lawful to be buried in designated woodland burial sites. The first of these are being prepared in several places nationwide.

If the deceased has indicated his/her wishes regarding burial or cremation as well as a scattering of ashes ceremony, this will be complied with. Otherwise, you need to decide on this when filling in the request. If the vicar can approve the request, he/she will issue a burial/cremation certificate. The deceased may not be buried or cremated until the burial/cremation certificate has been signed.

As a relative, you may decide to take care of all the practicalities of a funeral or you may talk to an undertaker about what aspects of the funeral he is to take care of. The more you take responsibility for, the less expensive the funeral will be.On the website of the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, you will find advice before you decide which undertaker to approach (in Danish only).

If the deceased was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark or another religious community, this will be perceived as a reflection of his/her wish for a church funeral service unless the deceased had expressed a wish for something else.

A funeral with the participation of a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark will as a rule take place in church or at a chapel in the cemetery. Even if the deceased was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, the burial or cremation ceremony may he held elsewhere than in the church if this is agreed with the vicar.

Cemetery chapels of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark may also be used in connection with church funeral services of other religious communities. If there is no cemetery chapel in the parish, the bishop may grant permission for a clergyman of another Christian religious community to officiate at a funeral service in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark.

There are no specific requirements as to how a civil funeral service is to be conducted. It is possible to organise a ceremony at a chapel, at a private home or the like. Normally, a minor fee will be payable for renting the chapel as well as for the organ player and choir if applicable.

Start Apply for funeral benefits

Who can get funeral benefits?

As a relative, you can get funeral benefits if you are the executor and arrange the funeral and if the deceased has been eligible for Danish national health insurance. It has no bearing on the funeral benefits whether the deceased is buried or cremated.

How do I apply for funeral benefits?

You can apply for funeral benefits yourself using your Danish digital signature NemId, but some funeral directors also offer to do so on your behalf. If a funeral director or another person applies for funeral benefits on your behalf, he or she needs a written power of attorney from you.

If you want to apply for funeral benefits click on "Start".