Death and Dying in Hungary

Information on how to proceed in the event of the death of a family member in Hungary. Also information on the repatriation of remains for a burial or cremation...

In the event of the death of a family member or a friend at home, the first thing to do is call a GP (háziorvos) or the emergency doctor on duty (körzeti ügyeletes orvos) as soon as possible. They confirm the death and issue a document certifying the death (halottvizsgálati bizonyítvány), which is not the same as a death certificate.

It is also the doctor's duty to inform the funeral directors (illetékes temetkezési vállalat) and the body has to be removed within 16 hours to the funeral home.

If the death happens in a public area, the police (Tel: 112) must be called. They then call a doctor to confirm the death within two hours.

If the death happens in a hospital, then the hospital issues a document certifying the death (halottvizsgálati bizonyítvány).

If the death was the result of an accident, murder or suicide, or if the cause of death cannot be decided, a post mortem (kórbonctani vizsgálat) is carried out.

Registering the Death

Death certificates (halotti anyakönyvi kivonat) are issued by the registry office (önkormányzat anyakönyvi hivatal) in the district where the death occurred. This certificate is needed for the funeral (temetés) and for the probate hearing (hagyatéki tárgyalás).

The death has to be registered the following working day. The following documents are required to obtain a death certificate:

  • Document certifying the death (halottvizsgálati bizonyítvány)
  • Death report (elhalálozásról szóló jegyz?könyv), if the death happened in a hospital
  • The deceased's ID card or passport
  • The deceased's Address Card (lakcímkártya)
  • If the deceased was married, a marriage certificate (házassági anyakönyvi kivonat)
  • If the deceased was divorced, a decree absolute (válást igazoló okirata)
  • If the deceased was widowed, the spouse's death certificate (halotti anyakönyvi kivonat)

If any of the above documents are missing, the clerk will help to get copies. The death certificate includes the following information:

  • The deceased's name, birth name, gender, marital status, date and place of birth
  • The time and place of death
  • The birth names of the parents of the deceased
  • The birth name of the spouse or registered partner of the deceased

Funerals and Burial

The deceased's relatives, or the deceased's beneficiaries are responsible for the funeral, which can be a burial or cremation.

Burial

A burial has to take place within 96 hours of the issuing of the document certifying the death (halottvizsgálati bizonyítvány), unless the doctor issuing the certificate gives a longer time period.

Cremation

Ashes can either be buried in an urn or scattered. Ashes can be scattered in a designated area in a cemetery or on private property with the owner's consent. They can also be scattered in national parks or rivers, or from an aircraft with a permit from the National Transport Authority (Nemzeti Közlekedési Hatóság).

Repatriation of foreigners

Repatriation is carried out by licensed funeral directors and requires the help of the relevant embassy or consulate. Most embassies offer help with finding funeral directors and lawyers, and help to keep in touch with relatives in the home country. If the deceased was insured, expenses are covered; otherwise, relatives have to cover the costs.

Euthanasia

Euthanasia (eutanázia) or assisted suicide is illegal in Hungary. Some forms of passive euthanasia are allowed. For example, fully conscious patients have the right to refuse treatment.

Organ Donation

Hungary is a "presumed consent" country, which means that unless the deceased requested otherwise, he or she is a potential donor. Parental consent is required if the deceased was younger than 18.