Who takes care of the estate if the deceased person has no relatives?
If someone dies, the municipality first tries to find any relatives. This is the responsibility of the municipality where the deceased person resided. If the relatives do not take care of the funeral or the deceased person has no relatives, the municipality initially organises the funeral of the deceased person. If it turns out after death that the deceased person does have relatives, they will be charged with the funeral costs. However, this is more expensive for them than if they had organised the funeral themselves.
What is to be considered for a funeral?
The agency responsible for the burial must clarify whether the deceased had expressed a specific wish regarding the burial in any way. This can, for example, be an arrangement about what type of grave you want (e.g. urn, earth grave or community grave). Also consider any religious affiliation of the deceased, which could be important for the funeral. Possibly, the burial must take place according to a certain religious rite.
If someone dies without descendants, the law provides for relatives other than heirs. The parentela system then goes into the second parentela of the parents. If they are deceased, siblings take their place. It ultimately makes the most sense to create a testamentary disposition so you can appoint nonrelatives or organisations of your choice as heirs.
Who covers the costs if a person dies and has no assets?
Since social assistance serves to ensure adequate livelihood, its scope is limited to the living and does not apply in the event of death. Assistance for relatives regarding funeral costs is also excluded by law, as this only relates to benefits to secure one’s livelihood. It is left to the municipalities to ensure a dignified funeral for all people. Everyone has the right to such a funeral as this is a part of human dignity and is protected by the Federal Constitution. All costs related to the burial in an official burial place at the place of residence or place of death are to be considered as funeral costs.
Something to think about:
- Have you already thought about what type of grave you would like for your funeral?
- Should a certain religious ritual be performed? In this case, instructions would be useful.
- Do you have descendants who will become heirs by law?
- What would you like to leave to whom?
- Would a last will and testament be helpful?