Each corpse must be buried. Whether in an earth, fire, sea or forest burial.

In Germany, funerals are generally carried out by funeral homes, commonly called undertakers. You can select different types of burial. Depending on the region, you can choose between

  • Inhumation
  • Cremation (forest burial, sea burial, urn burial)
  • Anonymous burial

A funeral is possible at the earliest 48 hours after the onset of death. Exceptions may be allowed by the competent health authority for good cause.

Are funeral debtors (relatives)

  • nonexistent
  • not to be determined,
  • cannot be found.


  • do not fulfil their duty or do not fulfil them in time


  • no one else arranges the funeral,

the local regulatory authority responsible for the place of death or discovery must take care of the burial.

Bodies should be buried or cremated within 8 days of the onset of death. Urns should be buried within one month of cremation. With the exception of sea burial, there is a legal cemetery obligation for all burials.

The following are obliged to bury in this order:

  • spouse or registered partner,
  • descendants (children, grandchildren),
  • Ancestors (parents, grandparents),
  • Sibling.

For burial

  • Death certificate or death notice

In the case of an urn burial

  • Certificate of the second official post-mortem examination before cremation


In Lower Saxony, cemetery owners can only be the state or church community, joint municipality and city. Individual places offer the possibility of an urn burial in a forest cemetery.
Crematoria (cremation facilities) can also be operated by private sponsors in Lower Saxony.

Related Links

  • Law on the Mortuary, Burial and Cemetery System (BestattG)

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Equality (Unit 405 - Legal Affairs in Health Care)

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