Rules applicable in the case of death, including rules on the repatriation of remains to another Member State

Procedure in the case of death

The procedure for reporting the death of a person varies depending on whether the person died at home or in hospital
The registration of deaths at the civil registry office varies depending on whether the person died at home or in a healthcare facility. The deceased person shall not be buried or cremated until an examination has taken place.
Death in an apartment or home
When death occurs in an apartment or home, it should be reported as soon as possible and without delay. A death must be reported by those who lived with the deceased person, by relatives or neighbours. If there is no such person, the person who becomes aware of the death shall report it.
The procedure is as follows:
  • call emergency services (194) or the police (192)
  • the officials will call the coroner
  • the coroner must be given access to the deceased; medical records, if they exist, as well as any identity details of the deceased should be prepared so that a certificate for burial and transport may be issued
  • upon completion of the death certificate, the coroner issues a burial permit for the deceased
  • contact an authorised funeral company, undertaker or insurance company (if the deceased has contracted a death grant, you should take the deceased’s identity card with you)
  • all documentation and certificates issued by the coroner are to be taken to the civil registry office to have the death registered.
The death shall be reported within three days to the registrar in whose territory the death occurred or where the deceased was found. For the list of civil registry offices, please consult the website of the Ministry of Justice, Public Administration and Digital Transformation.
Civil registry offices
Death in a healthcare facility
 If a death occurs in a healthcare facility on the territory of Croatia, the following will be required:
  • contact the admissions unit which admitted the person
  • provide all the deceased person’s personal details so that the death may be registered at the civil registry office
  • give clothes for the deceased to be buried in, to the relevant hospital department (pathology department)
  • details of the funeral arrangements, including the transport and burial, and contact details of an authorised funeral company, or undertaker, or details of a death grant.
If the body of a deceased person is not removed within 24 hours, the healthcare facility will charge a special fee for each day over the prescribed deadline.
For persons who die in a healthcare facility, an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
At the request of the immediate family and in agreement with the head of the healthcare facility and the pathologist, it may be decided that the autopsy will not be carried out.
Mandatory autopsy
An autopsy shall be mandatory in the following cases:
  • it is an unnatural death, or the cause of death is unknown
  • if the death occurs during a diagnostic or therapeutic intervention
  • if the death occurs within 24 hours of admission of the person to the healthcare facility
  • if the person has participated in a clinical trial of a medicinal product or a medical device or another scientific study in a healthcare facility
  • in the event of the death of a person whose body parts may be taken in order to be transplanted for the purpose of medical treatment in accordance with a special law.
Sudden/violent death
If a coroner considers that the death occurred under dubious circumstances, or it is a violent death in connection with a criminal offence, he/she shall inform the police.
In the case of a sudden death, where the cause is unknown, i.e. unclear, the coroner shall request an autopsy and the deceased will be transported to the Institute of Forensics and the family will be provided with a death certificate from the hospital or the coroner. The medical doctor who has carried out the autopsy shall inform the state administration body or healthcare facility designated to supervise the work of the coroner of the results, together with a written post-mortem report.