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Old 26.12.2011, 11:19
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Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

I was asked this question yesterday from a friend in hospital

'' What do you think they will do with my body when I die ? ''

I didn't know how to answer him, his wife robbed him and ran off with his best friend and all of his other friends were family friends, mostly on his wife's Swiss/ Libyan side so have sided with her and deserted him....

He will no doubt be buried in a pauper's grave, he would not accept financial assistance

But will they bury him here in Switzerland?

Are Swiss graves reserved for the Swiss?

Do you have to buy a plot, what are the rules, being Switzerland there must be some ?

Could they send his body back to the place of his birth ?

Would they respect his religion ?

If you die alone and pot-less who is responsible for you ?

Not the best question to ask during the festive season but I want to try and give him some answers.

Many of us may die here it might be useful to get a few pointers from people who have experienced death of a loved one in a foreign country!
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Old 26.12.2011, 11:35
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Re: Kicking the bucket in Switzerland...

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what are the rules, being Switzerland there must be some ?
Being Switzerland some of the rules vary from place to place.

This is just the basics about the proceedure when someone dies.
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Old 26.12.2011, 11:39
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

...and this Thread about Wakes and Funerals in Switzerland gives a bit more 'personal' information.
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Old 26.12.2011, 11:40
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

That's great thank you but what about a body, does it become the property of someone?

Answers to some of the other questions would be a great help too !
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Old 26.12.2011, 11:47
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

Perhaps he can speak to his doctor and they can refer to the social work department of the hospital ? Asking for help may be necessary at this point...especially if he has wishes or religious requirements.

If he is of a particular religion, then it may be possible that he sets up an arrangement for the leader of a religious group to take the responsibility. There might be legal papers required for that. He needs to make sure the hospital/doctor have that all recorded. I know in Australia our very ordinary Anglican church had to make arrangements for quite a few people over the years who did not have 'next of kin' to do it for them...
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Old 26.12.2011, 11:50
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

Another link which gives information about alternatives to an urn after cremation and there are several other links on the page which might help further.

Last edited by Longbyt; 26.12.2011 at 12:16. Reason: grammar
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Old 26.12.2011, 12:08
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

Your friend can make a Will by stating his burial wishes, completely in his own handwriting, in the local language, and filing it with the Gemeinde / Commune where he is registered. This is free of charge (Yes one or two things are free here)!

When you die the Office where you live will oversee any arrangements. But first of all they will look for a Will. If he wants to be cremated on Sandalwood at the River Ganges he had better leave enough money behind to pay for it.

There are pauper graves in every town. So he has no need to worry he will be thrown away with the Tuesday refuse collection.
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Old 26.12.2011, 12:19
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

I don't know the answers to your questions but your friend is lucky to have you around. I hope that your friend finds some peace before his passing. I am so sorry for his heartache.
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Old 26.12.2011, 12:21
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

I do not mean to be insensitive and I think that some religions might be against it, but is donating one's body to science an option?
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Old 26.12.2011, 12:27
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

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Your friend can make a Will by stating his burial wishes, completely in his own handwriting, in the local language, and filing it with the Gemeinde / Commune where he is registered. This is free of charge (Yes one or two things are free here)!

When you die the Office where you live will oversee any arrangements. But first of all they will look for a Will. If he wants to be cremated on Sandalwood at the River Ganges he had better leave enough money behind to pay for it.

There are pauper graves in every town. So he has no need to worry he will be thrown away with the Tuesday refuse collection.
Why the groan Onei? Maybe you don't like the truth? Do you think I invent things? I thought I was giving you very good advice, at least it was meant to be so!

This is Switzerland, and if he wants a proper grave with a headstone, then somebody will have to pay for it. This is a common practise in Europe, a poor person is buried with a Christian ceremony in a separate communal grave. As I stated, if he wants another religious ceremony he needs to put it in writing in a hand written Will.

I am sorry if you don't like the facts, and it is super that you care for your friend, but don't groan at me because I tell you the truth.
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Old 26.12.2011, 12:39
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

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Why the groan Onei?
Sbrinz, if you throw out a line like this
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So he has no need to worry he will be thrown away with the Tuesday refuse collection.
to someone asking about burial info for a friend in the process of dying, don't pretend to be surprised when you get a groan for it. Jesus H. Christ.
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Old 26.12.2011, 12:49
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

I've known people who expressed a specific wish to be buried in the 'Gemeinschaftsgrab' which, for some reason, sounds much less negative than 'Communal Grave'. However, the body has to have been cremated.
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Old 26.12.2011, 12:52
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

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So he has no need to worry he will be thrown away with the Tuesday refuse collection.
How could you write such a horrible thing? This is a person, someone's friend.
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Old 26.12.2011, 13:05
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

Thank you all for your concern, it is a tough and emotional time...

Advice given is great but it really does not help due to the poor guys mindset, try putting yourself in his shoes :

One week his wife disappears, the next all of his money goes along with his house, the following week he is in hospital given a month to live, then he finds out that his best friend is with his wife living of his money (which was quite substantial)...

He really does not care what happens to him to be honest, he is a destroyed man, he won't speak to doctors or anyone else, doctors wont speak to me without his permission which he refuses to give, I feel tied, I'm off overseas in a week and I don't think he will be alive when I get back, his question to me was one more out of interest than of concern.

I don't want him thrown out with the trash, without his consent could I claim his body when he passes so I can at least rest him in a place that was pleasant for him at one time, i must say that his doctors are not very helpful at all
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Old 26.12.2011, 13:15
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

Doctors can be very helpful, but this sort of thing is not necessarily what they know most about. It's probably not a situation they come up against daily.

You could try getting in touch with a social worker either at the hospital or at the parish offices in the place where he has been living. It won't be the first time this sort of thing has happened.

If you can't get any joy there, I would try the local church. It is irrelevant which religion which he belongs to or doesn't belong to, but they should be able to put you on to the correct authority or point you in the right direction.

I really do feel for you in this.
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Old 26.12.2011, 13:16
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

As far as I'm aware, the ugly truth is that if nobody claims a body the town will have it cremated and its ashes shed in the 'garden of memories' as it's called in French. Note that more and more people (my grandmum included) do wish to become part of this garden.

Since even that has a cost (albeit a minor one), I guess the authorities would approve of anybody, relative or not, who would agree to take care of the process himself. That means that if you wish to organise funerals, I doubt anybody will prevent you from doing so, if you're ready to assume the costs.

Sorry there was no nicer way to say that, I tried to stay factual
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Old 26.12.2011, 15:33
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

Dear onei,

I'm really sorry to read this, and glad that your friend has someone that seems to care what happens to him.

As the business of his wife leaving him (with all the mess that has entailed) sounds like it is very recent, there presumably has as yet been no official seperation or divorce?
I'm just wondering as is that case as I would have thought that she would be legally obliged to look after his funeral arrangements and to pay for things from what is after all money that belongs to both of them?
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Old 26.12.2011, 17:18
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

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I've known people who expressed a specific wish to be buried in the 'Gemeinschaftsgrab' which, for some reason, sounds much less negative than 'Communal Grave'. However, the body has to have been cremated.
confused ...it's a communal grave (normally means burial of body to me) but only for ashes?
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Old 26.12.2011, 17:59
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

More and more Swiss people chose to be cremated and then spread in this communal garden, due to many reasons, including cost. My grandmum wished to go there because this part of the cemetery has the most flowers all year round, since everybody is contributing.

Due to lack of space here, having a tomb is expensive (you rent a space) and time-limited. Cremation is thus the n1 choice, and is also the choice imposed on bodies nobody reclaimed...
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Old 26.12.2011, 18:03
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Re: Death in Switzerland and possible following proceedures

I feel you should respect his wishes - if he doesn't care at all about his body, then that is OK is it not? Personally I feel that friends and loved ones should be cared for and loved when they are alive. What happens to me afterwards is not important to me at all. You need to talk to the Gemeinde, as you know everything here changes form K/Canton to K/Canton. Be there for him now- when he truly needs you.

If you wish to make arrangements for his body when he dies, you need to get his consent and be prepared to pay I'm sure, although you might get help from the Gemeinde.
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