Practical guidelines and information

The executor should contact an undertaker, or in exceptional cases the town where the individual was registered (see FAQ), once they are deceased. The undertaker will then contact the Secretariat of Human Anatomy and Embryology on +32 3 265 28 28. The undertaker will provide the name, first name and date of birth of the deceased as well as the date of death, the municipality where the individual died and the location of the body.

During the weekend or on public holidays an answering machine will give further instructions. If the deceased died in a hospital or in an institution with a morgue, the body may be stored in the morgue. You can then wait until the next business day to notify the laboratory of the individual’s death. The body should preferably be transferred to our laboratory within 48 hours after death. We cannot accept bodies of individuals who died abroad or bodies on which an autopsy was performed.

What should the undertaker do?

  • After a physician has legally established that the individual is deceased, the body should be placed in a coffin (wooden coffin, no polyester or zinc) by an undertaker of your choice, who will also be in charge of transportation to and from the University of Antwerp.
  • The undertaker will transfer the body in a coffin to the University of Antwerp after having made an appointment by phone and will also be in charge of the subsequent burial or cremation of the deceased.
  • If the individual died at home, then the undertaker will submit a declaration of death form to the registry of the municipality where the individual died.
  • If the individual died in a hospital or institution, the same procedure will be followed unless the hospital or the institution takes care of this declaration.                
  • If the deceased is to be buried, the undertaker will request permission for the burial from the registry. In this case, he needs the death certificate and a copy of the will.
  • If the deceased is to be cremated, two physicians will have to establish the death of the deceased, i.e. the physician who established the individual’s death and a medical examiner. The undertaker will then request permission for cremation from the registry. In this case, he needs the death certificate and a copy of the will.
  • When the undertaker collects the body, the permission for burial or cremation will be available. The undertaker needs this form to be able to transport the body.
  • The funeral (which in some cases may take place up to one year after the death) will take place in the municipality where the deceased was registered and will be arranged by the undertaker. The family will not be notified of the funeral by the University of Antwerp. If you (or your family) wishes to be informed, this should be arranged with the undertaker, so he can make the arrangements. 
  • The undertaker will send the bill directly to the family (coffin + transport costs + funeral). The descendants can then claim compensation for funeral expenses from the health insurance, the inheritance and so on.