First steps after death of a loved one

The death of a loved one can cause great personal distress.


You are best advised to call us directly after the death. We will determine the necessary steps and be ready with assistance and advice on the subsequent process – whether the death occurred at home, in the hospital or a care facility, hospice, public location or while traveling abroad.

What must be done in the event of a death at home?

Notify your usual doctor or call for emergency services immediately. The death must be officially verified by an (emergency) doctor, who will issue the medical death certificate. Please be aware that prior to the verification of death, no changes may be made to the body of the deceased!

Place of death: Vienna

If the death occurred in Vienna, then the Central Death Registry Office of the MA15 (available 24/7 by phone at 01 4000-87890) must be notified. The certifying doctor from the MA15 will normally carry out the inspection between 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. It is helpful if you can have the necessary medical documents (reports, prescriptions, etc.) available to establish the deceased person’s medical history. If the doctor is able to determine the cause of death without doubt through the inspection and associated documents and information provided, then the body will be released and the death certificate will be issued. Then the body may be collected by the funeral home of your choice.


If the cause of death cannot be determined during the inspection of the body of the deceased, or there is some suspicion of external influence, then the Public Health Department or the City of Vienna Police Department will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The health authority’s autopsies and forensic autopsies can be carried out in Vienna in a variety of facilities including public hospitals, forensic medicine institutions or the Simmering autopsy unit. Please contact us and we will be happy to clarify where your deceased relative will be taken and the process for release of the body.

Place of death: Lower Austria

In Lower Austria, after the determination of death by the resident or emergency physician, the competent certifying doctor must notified. We will be happy to help you find out which doctor in the district is authorised to carry out this verification of the death. Helpful information can be obtained from the appropriate local authorities or the nearest police station.


As a Viennese funeral company, we can remove the body of the deceased as soon as it is released by the certifying doctor of the relevant district, who will also prepare the death certificate as part of this process. During the night, weekends or holidays, the funeral company can, with official permission, transfer the body of the deceased from the place of death to the nearest cold storage facility (for example, at the local cemetery), where the death can be verified on the next working day.


In any case, please contact Himmelblau Funeral Services immediately to find out more about the next stages of the process. It may also be possible for you to select clothing in which the deceased will be buried.

Please contact us even in urgent circumstances

What must be done in the event of death in a hospital or care facility?

In the event of death in a public hospital, the pathologist will prepare a medical death certificate. Private hospitals and care facilities in Vienna organise verification of the death through the central certification office of the district public health offices (MA15).


These days, notification of the death, or the death certificate, is lodged electronically and forwarded to the registry office.


Our federal regions have different deadlines for burial. We recommend that you decide on a funeral company within the relevant period and arrange for collection from a hospital. In Vienna, the relatives have five working days in which to arrange this, while in Lower Austria the maximum period is ten days.


If the deceased is located in a care facility, then usually collection by the funeral company of your choice must be arranged on the day of the release of the body.


Please contact us, and we will be glad to advise you of the necessary steps.

What must be done in the event of a death in a public place?

When a person dies in a public place, the immediate family will be notified by the competent safety authority. Collection of the body from a public place will be arranged by the City of Vienna. In Lower Austria, the undertaker of the district in which the death occurred will be responsible. We will be happy to clarify for you where the deceased person has been taken and when you can expect the body to be released.

What must be done in the event of a death abroad or in another federal region?

In the event of a death while abroad, you would normally be informed by the foreign ministry, the Austrian embassy or the Austrian consulate in the country where the death occurred. We will also be glad to help in this situation, by consulting with the authorities and the funeral home in the place of death to arrange for the return of the body to Austria.


If a family member dies within Austria and transport to another country or within Austria is desired, then Himmelblau Funeral Services will be happy to arrange the transport and all required measures, official procedures and certifications (apostilles or a complete diplomatic certification, depending on the country) on your behalf.

If international transport is not covered by your travel insurance, transport costs must normally be borne by the surviving family members. We will be glad to assist you in keeping these costs as low as possible. If you wish to avoid placing a financial burden on your relations, you can arrange funeral insurance through us.



After the death is certified by a doctor, the civil registry must be notified. For this you will need the death notification prepared by the attending doctor, which contains a death certificate.


The death must be registered at the registry office no later than the next working day. This will then be entered into the central register of births, deaths and marriages, and a death certificate (Sterbeurkunde) will be issued. For the issuance of this death certificate you will need the following documents:

The registry office will automatically submit the re-registration to the Austrian Registry Office (ZMR), the Federation of Austrian Social Insurance Entities and the driving license register. The Citizenship Office must be notified of the death of an Austrian citizen, while a non-citizen’s death must be reported to the consular representative in Austria. Official passports, documentation and certificates will lose their validity and do not need to be returned.


The death certificate or extract of the de-registration on account of death must be given to the funeral home immediately .


After the immediate family, the employer, financial institutions and insurance companies must be notified. Landlords, gas and electricity providers, the vehicle licensing office and the telephone provider must also be notified in order to cancel or transfer existing contracts.

A detailed checklist is provided here.

Important documents for the issuance of the death certificate

Here you will find all the documents required for the issuance of a death certificate.


Important addresses in Vienna that may be helpful

Here you will find all the important addresses you will need in Vienna.