Registration of a death and funerals

A death shall be registered in Estonia if the death has not been registered in a foreign state and

  • the person dies in Estonia or
  • the last residence of the person deceased in a foreign state was in Estonia or
  • the person deceased in a foreign state was an Estonian citizen.

To enter a death registered abroad in the population register, documents that have been translated into Estonian, English or Russian, legalised or certified by apostille must be submitted to the vital statistics office or a consular official of Estonia in the respective foreign state.

How to register a death

In order to register a death, one must submit an application (pdf, 35,2 kB, in Estonian) to a vital statistics office within seven days of the date of death of a person or the date on which the deceased person was found. Applications can also be filled in at vital statistics offices.

Who can register a death

  • spouse
  • relative
  • relative by marriage
  • person who was living with the deceased
  • head of an agency that provided health care service
  • police official
  • other persons that have data about the death

Where can one register a death

Application to register a death may be submitted to any local government.

A death is registered within three business days of receiving a respective application. The following documents are submitted to register a death:

  • medical death certificate, notice of a police authority, or court decision on establishing the fact of death or regarding declaration of death;
  • identity document of the deceased;
  • identity document of the submitter.

The identity document of a deceased person submitted upon registration of their death is kept by the registrar. If the document has been issued in Estonia, the vital statistics office will deliver it to the Police and Border Guard Board; if the document has been issued in a foreign state, the document is delivered to the respective state.

Issue of death certificates

When a death is registered, a death entry is made in the population register, and a death certificate is issued if requested by the person registering the death. Registration of a death and the initial issue of the respective death certificate is free of charge.

The death of a stillborn child is not registered and death certificates are not issued concerning stillborn children. The death of a stillborn child is certified by a medical death certificate.

If you need to present a vital statistics certificate (a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, a divorce certificate, a birth certificate of own child, a death certificate of own child or spouse) on the basis of a vital statistics act, but you have lost it or it has become unavailable, then you can order a duplicate certificate via population registers e-services. A state fee of 10 Euros (paper certificate) or 5 Euros (electronic certificate) should be paid for issuing a duplicate certificate. More information and reference numbers for the local governments of the county center can you find on homepage of Ministry of the Interior and also at the e-service. If you would like to have a certificate in a foreign language, contact your local government of the county center (for example Vital Statistics Department in Tallinn for further information.

Funerals

A funeral can be held in many different ways. Depending on the person’s beliefs and the wishes of the departed, there are two primary ways of burial available: a casket burial, and cremation.

Funerals are divided into religious and secular. A religious funeral may take place in a house of worship, chapel or by graveside. The same applies to cremation ceremonies. The difference between secular and religious funerals is solely in the fact that the secular ceremony is not carried out by a minister of religion. Religious grave burials have been preferred in Estonia to this point, but the number of urn funerals has grown significantly in recent years.

A person cannot be buried before his or her death has been registered in a vital statistics office; burials take place on the basis of death certificates. Only the death of a stillborn child is certified by a medical death certificate.

Funeral benefit

The state funeral benefit is paid by local governments (rural municipality and city governments) on the conditions and pursuant to the procedure that they have established. A funeral benefit must be applied for in the rural municipality or city government of the last place of residence of the deceased according to the Population Register. The bearer of funeral expenses will have to submit a death certificate (original) and an application with the applicant’s name, phone number, and settlement account number to the local government.

The Estonian Cemetery Portal

With the help of the Estonian Cemetery Portal you can search for information about the deceased person you are interested in, along with their final resting place. You can also communicate quickly and conveniently with the cemeteries, finding data and e-services for each cemetery.

At the portal you also can find the Register of Tallinn Cemeteries and the public e-services of Tallinn Cemeteries.

In Tallinn, the authority Tallinn Cemeteries (at Pärnamäe tee 36) is engaged in the management of cemeteries, provision of burial services to residents, year-round maintenance of the area and the administration of electronic archives.

Last amended: 31-01-2018 00:00 | Compiled by: Ministry of the Interior