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Bereavement & Funerals in Spain

- Updated: 18/03/2010
Bereavement & Funerals in Spain

Not a nice subject - but one which will be much less painful if you are at least aware of the procedure in Spain.

Following a death in Spain a Doctor should sign the death certificate and it should then be certified by a Judge. When a foreigner dies the certificate is then presented to the foreigner’s consulate or embassy in Spain to allow a certificate to be issued in the deceased person’s home country. A will cannot be executed without this certificate.

The town hall(s) where the death took place AND where the deceased lived must also be informed.

If Spain is your home and you want to be buried or cremated here you will need to be prepared for the procedure. You can hire a burial space for a specified number of years. After this time bodies are exhumed and put in a communal burial site. To avoid this you can buy your own site outright. In Spain bodies tend to be placed in sealed sites in walls above the ground, rather than in the ground.

The alternative is for your body to be flown back to your home country. Unless you have specific insurance , usually stated in a Funeral Plan to cover this it can be very expensive.

In Spain a body is usually buried within 3 days unless there are exceptional circumstances that should prevent this happening.

It is customary in Spain for the Body of the deceased to remain with a Tantoria until the time of burial, where friends and close family members can call to pay their respects.

When arranging a funeral in Spain you should allow for the following costs:

  • Repatriating the body to the UK (if required)
  • Undertaker’s costs
  • Refrigeration costs
  • Cemetery rental ( see above ) or purchase of space
  • Cremation costs (if cremation is required)
  • Funeral service

As in the UK, there are many companies offering Funeral Plans especially for Ex-Pats, that cater for all eventualities and all requirements. For peace of mind, and to ensure that the loved ones that you leave behind are not burdened too much by Spanish bureaucracy it is always advisable to consider this route.

Comment on this Article

I would like to install a cremator and all facilities in Spain.
Mike - Tue 19th Sep 2017
To Gaynor who recommended Cemeterio Municipal Alicante. Could you give contact details please to explain the direct process?
Maz - Tue 15th Sep 2015
If anyone is looking for a cheap way to prepare for a funeral I would recomend Funerals in Spain. They offer monthly funeral insurance and a 24 hour emergency service in English. It worked well for my friends
Fenboy - Wed 10th Jul 2013
Cementerio municipal Alicante if you go direct it is alot cheaper, all funeral directors have to go to the municipal anyway. you can ask for a price list and they do all the paperwork . We saved over 2000Euros
Gaynor - Mon 3rd Sep 2012
In Malaga you can go to Parcemasa which is the Parque cementerio de Malaga.. The reason is that all funeral directors have to contact them anyway. If you go directly it is a lot cheaper. My mother died last Nov in hospital . Parque cementerio de Málaga, run by the council did all the paper work , we telephone them when My mother died went to their office and paid . Everyone in Malaga that wants to be cremated has to go to Parque cementerio de Málaga, we just went direct and saved about 2000 euros. Actually my Mum had sorted everything out way before she died.( miss you mum!)It´s terrible to have to think about this but you can ask for a price list and decide what you want. I know you´re in Ailcante but have a look at the malaga web page Parcemasa .es to get an idea. Funeral costs total cremation with no service and no of the adds on 1,233,70 euros. They then gave me back 52 euros too much vat . Ask at your local council for el Parque cementerio Alicante and ask for info.
Gaynor - Mon 3rd Sep 2012
William : If you go to you might find the answers that you are looking for.
Tumbit - Admin - Tue 7th Aug 2012
Is it possible to find out how much a cremation will cost - my wife and I want cremation only with no service and none of the add ons such as "dressing the body", "viewing th body" etc., etc,. How can we find out these costs in our area - Alicante province ? Thank you
William S Todd - Tue 7th Aug 2012
Bereavement whilst abroad is a subject that is very much overlooked and sadly is very common for people to be confused, overwhelmed and caught unaware and out of pocket when they are faced with having to deal with the death of a loved one. This is on top of the emotional turmoil, so I can appreciate how having such a plan must have made a difficult time slightly less stressful for you.
Tumbit - Admin - Fri 20th Jul 2012
Have only just come across this site. My wife recently passed away and I am very glad that I had a Golden Leaves funeral plan in place.Just one phone call and every thing was taken care of. I hate to think how I would have managed if I had had to sort everything out on my own. Would recommend to expats to take a plan out. It saves so much trouble sorting it out yourself. ( Ihave no connection with Golden Leaves and their products )
Bob Harper - Fri 20th Jul 2012
Many thanks Keith, we always appreciate updates !
Tumbit - Admin - Thu 18th Mar 2010
The 3 day burial period is no longer valid. It can now take place as soon as the family is present. You must, however, expect to pay further costs of around 65 euros per day over 5 days.
Keith Jones - Thu 18th Mar 2010