As soon as you find a body or in your presence a person dies, you must immediately inform the relatives or the police.

Each corpse must be buried. Any person who finds a corpse or in whose presence a person dies must immediately inform the relatives or the police.

Every practicing physician who can be reached is obliged to carry out the post-mortem examination immediately and to issue and hand over the death certificate. The same applies to doctors in hospitals and comparable facilities for those who died there. The person responsible must arrange for the post-mortem examination immediately. The funeral is generally possible at the earliest 48 hours after the onset of death. Bodies must be buried or cremated within 10 days of the onset of death. They can be buried in the ground or on fire. For the funeral, a funeral permit is required in Rhineland-Palatinate, which is issued by the local regulatory authority of the burial place for a funeral in Rhineland-Palatinate. In addition, a grave application must usually be submitted to the cemetery administration if the grave site is to be provided with a tomb or other structural facilities.

The obligations under the Funeral Act must be fulfilled by the heir. If this is not to be determined in time or for other reasons not to be used in time, the following persons are responsible in this order, provided that they have full legal capacity:

  1. the spouse or partner,
  2. the children,
  3. the parents,
  4. the other person with custody,
  5. the siblings,
  6. the grandparents,
  7. the grandchildren.

For the funeral: a death certificate, the death certificate, a funeral permit.

In the case of an urn burial, a certificate of the second official post-mortem examination before cremation.


The violation of the funeral obligation is an administrative offense. If the employees are not in a position to bear the funeral costs and the estate of the deceased is also insufficient, the authorities may submit an application for reimbursement of the funeral costs to the competent social welfare office.

Municipal statutes

Related Links

  • Funeral Act (BestG)
  • State Ordinance for the Implementation of the Funeral Act (BestattGDV)

Responsible for the content

Last update or date of publication