Declaration of death

Has a loved one passed away? Before organising a funeral and sorting the deceased’s estate, it is essential that a declaration of death is made, which is the first of many formalities after death. Don't know how to declare a death?

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Declaration of death

Death certificate: everything depends on the location

In Belgium, the steps to follow after a death depend on where the death occurred. If the death occurred in an institution (e.g. a nursing home or hospital), a doctor will automatically issue a death certificate on the spot.

If the death occurred in another location (e.g. a public place, at home, etc.) the first thing you need to do is call a doctor. Where there has been an accident, the emergency services will declare the death. After the death has been declared, the doctor will send a death certificate. Keep it safe!

If the death occurs abroad, the authorities of that country will normally declare the death. If this is not the case, contact the Belgian embassy or consulate in the country where the death occurred in order to have the death certificate drawn up. Then, contact a funeral director to repatriate the body of the deceased to Belgium.

What should you do once the death certificate has been issued?

The next step is choosing a funeral home. The funeral home will take charge of the body until the time of the funeral. It will also take care of certain administrative formalities:

  • Declaring the death to the civil registrar of the area in which the deceased resides and the area in which the funeral will take place
  • If necessary, requesting a cemetery plot

So that the funeral director can begin the administrative tasks, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Death certificate
  • Identity card of the deceased
  • Passport of the deceased
  • Marriage certificate of the deceased
  • Driver’s licence of the deceased

Once the death has been declared, you will also need to contact a notary to manage the deceased’s estate.

Then, you will need to contact the deceased’s bank in order to inform them of the death.

Finally, notify the social organisations (insurance, pension holders) and companies linked to the deceased’s place of residence: owner/landlord and electricity, gas and water companies ...

Did you know?

Banks freeze bank accounts after a death. They can be released by obtaining a certificate of heredity. If you are the heir or beneficiary of the deceased, you must file an inheritance tax return to the tax authorities before you can receive the inheritance.


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