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Exhumation / Excavation / Reburial of human remains or bones

What is an Exhumation?

Exhumation refers to the excavation of a deceased person who has already been buried. The grave is reopened or excavated to access the human remains of the deceased in order to reinter or relocate them to another location.

Reburial is the relocation or transfer of the bones or remains of the deceased to another place or cemetery.

What are the reasons for exhuming a deceased person?

Often, it's due to familial wishes, as the family may have moved away from the original burial location or even emigrated from the country. Sometimes, it's simply the desire to reunite family members in a family grave.

It can also be ordered or requested by the prosecutor's office or a judge as part of a criminal investigation, if there are doubts about the cause of death or other circumstances. This is done with the knowledge of the family members.

Where and how is an exhumation requested?

The exhumation request is made to the relevant cemetery administration. The cemetery office consults the local regulatory authority and possibly the health department for approval if there is a significant reason for the request. It may take several weeks for the request to be approved.

What are the costs associated with an exhumation?

The costs of exhumation vary depending on the federal state, city, and cemetery. There are costs associated with three parties:

  1. Cemetery office (city administration), which conducts the excavation of the remains.
  2. Chosen funeral home, which handles the remains, ensures proper reburial, and transports them. An exact breakdown of costs can be provided by us.
  3. Costs of the cemetery where the remains are to be reinterred.