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A funeral service can take various forms depending on the customs and traditions that are important to the deceased and their family. Some prefer not to have funeral service at all. In Sweden, a burial or cremation must take place within one month.

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting funeral arrangements

Do not postpone the funeral but be prepared to change your arrangements and plans. It is always possible to hold a funeral service and it is important that you contact your parish or a funeral director as quickly as possible to find out about any special provisions regarding funerals during the pandemic.

Various alternatives for funeral arrangements during the pandemic

Funeral directors provide a range of services

Consider how much the funeral can cost and what form you would like it to take. A funeral director can help you with matters such as booking a funeral, arranging a memorial service, buying flowers, completing an estate inventory and winding up the estate, as well as answering legal questions. You do not have to use all of the services they offer. Find out if the deceased had funeral insurance.

Choose a funeral director that suits your needs

It may be a good idea to contact several funeral directors and compare prices. You can do this by visiting or telephoning a few of them to speak to a consultant. There are even online funeral directors.

The funeral charge paid for through your taxes covers the most important costs

The estate does not have to pay the cost of a burial plot, cremation, a church or chapel in which to hold the funeral service, a room for viewing the body or certain transport costs. These costs are already covered through the funeral charge paid by the deceased via the taxes paid to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

If the ashes are to be scattered

There is no requirement to hold a funeral for ashes. These may be scattered in a memorial garden or a buried in an area set aside for ashes in a cemetery, which is a personal burial site that requires no maintenance. If you wish to scatter someone’s ashes elsewhere you will need to contact the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) for permission.
Contact the County Administrative Board for the county in which the deceased live (in Swedish) External link.

What you need to do when planning a funeral

  1. Find out whether the deceased had any wishes regarding their funeral – these may have been written down or related to someone personally. Find out whether the deceased has left any instructions in Vita arkivet, Livsarkivet or Begravningsarkivet.
  2. Where should the funeral be held?
  3. Should the coffin or urn be buried?
  4. Should the ashes be scattered?
  5. Should the funeral be limited to the immediate family or should friends and acquaintances be invited?
  6. Would you like to hold a memorial service afterwards?

Are the deceased’s funeral wishes registered in Vita arkivet (in Swedish) External link.
Livsarkivet (in Swedish) External link.

Begravningsarkivet (in Swedish) External link.

Under certain circumstances, the municipality may pay all or part of the funeral costs

The money in the estate shall initially be used to cover the costs of the funeral. This expense takes precedence over all other costs, such as outstanding rent and utility bills.

If this money is not enough to pay for the funeral, the estate may apply for financial support from the social services office in the municipality where the deceased lived.

You need to apply before ordering the funeral but the money will be paid later.

The estate pays for the funeral

The person who orders the funeral is responsible for ensuring that the funeral director receives its money. It is important that, first and foremost, the money left in the estate is used to pay the funeral costs.

Employer insurance may pay for the funeral costs

If the deceased was under 65 years of age and still employed, it is possible that their employer has an insurance policy that covers funeral assistance. Ask the employer about TGL group life insurance (Tjänstegrupplivförsäkring).

If you arrange the funeral yourself

If you are a relative who is arranging the funeral yourself, you will need a certificate from the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) stating that the deceased may be cremated or buried.

Contact the Swedish Tax Agency to order the certificate. External link.

Funerals for those who are not members of the Church of Sweden

If you would like a church burial and the deceased was not a member of the Church of Sweden, you will need to contact the local parish to find out if this is possible. This will entail an additional funeral cost as the deceased has not paid membership fees to the Church.

Ask others to help you

Do not hesitate to ask for help with what feels difficult and to receive help if you are offered.

Last updated: 2021-06-11