We have listed for information purposes the general procedures regarding death in Spain and Portugal.
These are intended as a guide to the procedures you must do as the partner or relative of the deceased and are not intended to frighten, the exact information for your place of residence is readily available within the Public Domain.
If the deceased has been treated by a doctor during the four weeks preceding the death and has received medical care, you should contact the doctor and advise them of the death. The doctor will attend the body and issue a certificate (this is NOT the Death Certificate). In most areas, the doctor will notify the Tanatorio (funeral parlour) and arrange to have the body collected. If this isn’t done, you should contact your local police.
If the deceased has not been treated by a doctor recently, the local police (Policía Municipal) must be contacted and advised of the death. They will require the name and address of the deceased. Have the passport and Residencia of the deceased available as means of identification. The police will also want to know the name(s) of the next of kin. The police will visit the home in order to authorise the removal of the body and, if needed, will advise the Forensic Judge, who may also have to visit the home. An autopsy will be carried out if the Forensic Judge or the doctor of the deceased is in doubt as to the cause of death. The doctor or Police will contact the Tanatorio, who will collect the body. Before the body is removed, you may wish to remove any rings or necklaces etc. You will be requested to visit the office of the Tanatorio (usually the next day), to make the funeral arrangements, you should then immediately contact any relatives who may wish to attend the funeral or service of remembrance in case they have long distances to travel or need to make arrangements to be away from their work or home.
If the death occurs in hospital, the next of kin may be contacted by telephone from the hospital or by the police. They will want to know where the funeral or cremation is to be held, the funeral director at the Tanatorio could, on your instructions, arrange for the body to be cremated. This arrangement also tends to be less expensive than transporting the body elsewhere and does not require the presence of relatives. After the cremation, the ashes will be returned and if desired, a service of remembrance can be held at the Tanatorio.
It is necessary to attend the Tanatorio as soon as possible after a death, in order to make arrangements for the burial or cremation. This is done by speaking to the Director and filling out a simple form of Contract. You will be asked to state whether you want a cremation or burial. In the case of a cremation, the ashes will be available for collection at some point later, so ask when this will be.
Please note that if death was the result of a road traffic accident or other situation where some criminal action may have occurred, then the body will only be released after an application has been made to the Court. This will require the intervention of a Judge (Juzgado)
Be ready to supply the following documents or information at the Tanatorio: Passport or Residencia of the deceased (unless the police have taken them already). Passport or Residencia of the person (usually next of kin) giving instructions to the Tanatorio Names of both parents of the deceased Details of the place, date of birth, marital status and permanent address of the deceased in Spain or elsewhere.
Questions you will be asked:
Did the deceased wear a pacemaker?
Do you want to see the coffins that can be purchased, which are on view?
Do you want to take clothes to dress the body?
In the case of a cremation, what you intend to do with the ashes?
This is because there are different urns for different situations. For instance, if the ashes are to be scattered at sea, they will be put in a different container to the one that will be used if the ashes are to be buried. There is yet another type of container, which has to be of a special kind and sealed, if the ashes are to be taken back to the U.K.
The Tanatorio can arrange a service by a pastor or priest in their chapel. If you want the Tanatorio to arrange the service, they will need to know the religion to be followed. i.e. Protestant, Roman Catholic, etc However, if you wish to arrange the service yourself, contact a local minister or suitable person to officiate at the service.
Other considerations to discuss are:
- a. Whether the body is to be clothed in any particular way for burial – (As mentioned previously, you may be asked to supply a set of clothes for the deceased.)
- b. Any particular requests that were made by the deceased.
- c. The choice of music to be played
- d. Whether the body is to be ‘laid out’.
- e. Whether the body is to be available for viewing before the funeral.
Find out whether the Tanatorio are in possession of any documents that were with the deceased in hospital, such as a Passport, residencia card or driving license. Any such documents should be collected at a later date from the Tanatorio.
Normally, the passport is sent directly to the relevant Consulate for cancellation and then returned to the Tanatorio. However, if the passport of the deceased is returned intact to the next of kin by the Tanatorio, a photocopy of it must be sent to: The British Consulate (nearest to you) This should be done as quickly as possible in order for the passport to be cancelled.
The Tanatorio can arrange floral tributes i.e. wreaths, bouquets, sprays and often have a set of photographs available to assist in the choice of floral arrangements. You will have to decide on the message you wish to have put on the ribbon. Any other personal messages should be written on a card and placed in position by the donor immediately prior to the service. Flowers can also be ordered privately from a local florist. If this is done be sure to have the correct delivery instructions so that the flowers arrive in the right place at the right time
You may wish to ask for donations from mourners instead of flowers, so you will have to enlist the help of a responsible friend or family member so that any money collected can be given to the appropriate charity or beneficiary
Burial- to inter a body in a cemetery
Cemeteries are owned by the town hall that governs their area. Burials are carried out by the method of placing the coffin in a ‘Niche’. A niche cannot usually be ordered or purchased in advance of a death and the same applies to choosing the location of the niche.
Priests do not attend burials at cemeteries. The usual procedure is for a memorial service to be held at the Tanitorio and then the mourners follow the hearse to the cemetery for the interment.
If the deceased was a resident, 3 International and 3 Local Language Death certificates are issued.
Once all arrangements are agreed, you are advised to ask for the total cost as well as a full breakdown of the bill. They will raise an invoice and will ask for payment in advance. The total cost, at present, is in the region of 4,300 euros plus. If a funeral policy exists, advise the insurer immediately because some Insurance companies make their payments directly to the Tanatorio.
If you decide to take the body back to the UK, there are suitable carriers. It’s as well to know that taking a body back to the UK is an expensive procedure. This is because the body has to be embalmed and transported in a lead-lined coffin.
As a general guide, the following authorities/agencies will require a death certificate if the deceased was a British citizen:
British Consular Office Ayuntamiento The Town Hall for the removal of information from the Padron regarding the deceased.
DVLC in UK if the deceased had a UK Driving License.
Department For Work And Pensions in the UK (Tyneview Park, Newcastle upon Tyne) if the deceased was in receipt of a British State Pension.
Paymaster General if the deceased received payment from a State or company pension in the UK.
Inland Revenue if the deceased paid UK tax
Probate Office if a UK will existed, or if the deceased owned property or assets in the UK
Banks (in UK, Spain and elsewhere) where the deceased held accounts
Insurance Companies which held life policies on the life of the deceased Yourself, for your own records. You will need this if you decide to rent a niche for the deceased or remove their remains to a different place at a future date.
A Funeral Plan from Iberian will through the use of our 24 Hour helpline remove the majority of the above by providing a professional and English speaking point of contact who will make all the arrangements on your behalf and in accordance with the wishes of the deceased/plan holder.
Date 1st September 2017
Following a letter being sent by the Company to all our UK resident clients there has been some confusion as to why a plan purchased in Spain – (a Euro priced plan) for provision of service in Spain – whilst covering all the costs of provision of service under the plan chosen, does NOT necessarily guarantee the costs for those who have returned to the UK either permanently or under Dual Certification, please read below:
Plans purchased in Spain requiring dual country cover – require that the Company holds a residential address in the UK, it cannot be assumed that a next of kin address will be used furthermore in not providing an address then this could delay service being provided.
If it is your intention to return to the UK then a relevant UK address must be provided on your return. On return to the UK the plan holder will be issued with new UK documentation and whilst the plan benefits are nearly the same as Spain they are not an exact Duplicate.
With regards to the plan value, Iberian have agreements in place for the provision of service relating specifically to the plan benefits stipulated – and whilst in Spain disbursement costs (for example doctor’s fees, cremation costs) are covered, on plans purchased in Spain and used in the UK these costs are not guaranteed, and become a contribution to the current disbursement costs at the time the service is required.
We cannot advise in advance what these costs are as they vary throughout the UK and are out of the funeral directors control.
Any changes to the services detailed in the plan documentation will not be covered by the Company and may require additional payment from the family direct to the funeral director.
Important – New Procedures Announcement – 20th December 2016
Dear Sir or Madam,
Re your Funeral Plan
In accordance with the companies terms and conditions we are writing to advise/clarify a change in our procedures with immediate effect.
Upon death our funeral directors IBERIAN SERVICIOS FUNERIAS must be phoned on the free phone number:
900 104 351 as detailed on the Plan Membership Cards
Your call will be registered and you will immediately be advised of our contracted funeral directors name.
On no account must you sign any documentation unless offered to you by ISF or their contracted funeral director.
Our funeral directors will liase with the family or representative of the deceased to make arrangements for provision of service under the terms of the plan you have with Iberian including facilities to be used, date of service and legal requirements to enable the service to go ahead. The company (Iberian) will not be responsible for meeting any costs for provision of service should our contracted funeral directors and the agreed facilities not be used.
You will incur additional charges from Iberian Servicios Funeraria due to the use of non-contracted funeral directors including VAT/IVA and the additional costs over the Iberians contracted price.
Alternatively: should you use the services of a non-contracted funeral director the company reserves the right to treat this as a cancellation and in accordance with our terms and conditions return the cost of the plan, less 20% of the plan value (deducted from monies received by the company).
It is with regret that we take these steps but they have to be taken in response to actions beyond our control.
Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
Stephen Nelson Managing Director Iberian Group
Tel: (+34) 900 103 681