Have a question about obituaries?
We’ve probably got an answer for you. From obituary definition and obituary meaning to the difference between an obituary and an eulogy, we’ve covered it all. Browse or filter the FAQs by a category below.
An obituary is an announcement of a person’s death. It includes the day he or she died, a recent photograph, a short biography of his or her life, information about family members, and details about the funeral or memorial service.
An obituary is written like a news article and published in the local newspaper where the person lived. It costs money to publish the obituary in a newspaper.
An obituary is a longer announcement of a person’s death, providing information about the day he or she died, a short biography of his or her life, surviving family members, and details about the funeral or memorial service. A death notice is a very short announcement that states the name of the person who died and details about his or her funeral or memorial service. A death notice has fewer words than an obituary, so it typically costs less money to publish in a newspaper than a full obituary.
A eulogy and obituary are not the same. But, they have a lot in common. An obituary is an announcement of a person’s death. It is written like a news article and published in the local newspaper where the person lived. A eulogy is a speech given at a funeral or memorial service. It praises the person who has just died and talks about the highlights of their life.
An obituary is an announcement of a person’s death. It includes the day he or she died, a recent photograph, a short biography of his or her life, information about family members, and details about the funeral or memorial service.
An epitaph is a phrase or series of words written in memory of a person who has died and inscribed on a tombstone or grave marker.
A premature obituary is an obituary that was published by mistake or accident. (Or, it could possibly have been a cruel joke.)
Often the media will write an obituary for a famous person before he or she dies. This allows them to react quickly so they can publish the news as soon as the death occurs. Premature obituaries are typically written for celebrities, politicians, leaders, and other famous people.
The answer depends on whether you mean an obituary or a death notice. An obituary is a story that recaps your loved one’s life after they pass away. It summarizes significant life events, childhood stories, family members, and the legacy they’re leaving behind. An obituary is much longer than a death notice, which simply provides the name of the person who died and the details of the funeral or memorial service.
Everyone should get an obituary. An obituary is the final published story of your life. And everyone deserves to have one.
Are you debating whether your family member needs an obituary? If you don’t want to write it or don’t feel confident writing it, ask another family member or friend. The funeral home might also help you write one.
Obituaries are not the only way to announce the passing of a loved one. There are a couple of alternatives.
If you do not wish to write an obituary for your loved one, you could write and publish a death notice. A death notice is a very shortened version of an obituary. It announces someone has died. It provides details about the funeral or memorial services. And that’s it.
You also could write a eulogy. A eulogy is a story and tribute to someone who has died. It can be read aloud at the funeral or memorial service.
If you don’t want to write an obituary or don’t believe you can, we can help! Visit How to Write an Obituary for a quick tutorial on what information to include in an obituary. Or, purchase the How to Write a Good Obituary kit for immediate access to a step-by-step guide and obituary template.
Technically, an obituary is optional. It’s not a legal document. Therefore, the law does not require you to write an obituary.
But, you shouldn’t treat an obituary as optional. You write obituaries to remember someone’s life and accomplishments. Obituaries are important. They honor those who have passed away. And, they provide comfort for friends and family members.
Obituaries are important because they tell the story of your loved one’s life. They announce to the world that your loved one has passed away. And, they announce to others that you and many other family members are grieving this loss.
You write an obituary to celebrate a life well lived. You write it to remind people of how your loved one changed the lives of the people around them.
Writing an obituary is an important part of the grieving process. It helps you remember stories, memories, and characteristics. It allows you to boil down an entire lifetime into one final story.
An obituary provides many benefits. It announces the death of a person. It provides information about their funeral and memorial services. It provides a short history of their life. An obituary defines the legacy your loved one is leaving behind.
An obituary showcases the special and unique qualities your loved one will be remembered for. In short, obituaries are very important. Everyone deserves a good one.
An obituary does not cost any money to write, if you or a family member writes it.
The cost comes when you publish the obituary in a newspaper. Depending on the length of the obituary and the newspaper it is published in, the cost can vary drastically. Obituaries cost from $40 up to $1,000, especially if you publish in a large metro newspaper and publish it with a color photograph.
If your family can’t afford to pay the high publishing price, don’t worry. Most funeral homes publish obituaries on their websites. You can email the online obituary link to your friends and family. Or, you can publish it on your social media accounts. There are many inexpensive ways to help get the word out.
Newspapers charge to publish your obituaries because they’re trying to make money. They could sell the space to advertisers. Or print another news story. You can publish your obituary in the newspapers print or online editions.
The funeral home handling the arrangements will often publish the obituary on their website as part of their service.
Other people use their social media channels to announce the death of a loved one.
Writing an obituary for your loved one is free to write, but it costs money to publish it in a newspaper. The cost to publish an obituary in a newspaper, whether a print or online edition, varies widely based on the size of the newspaper and the length of the obituary.
Many funeral homes will publish the obituary on their website as part of their services. In addition to the cost of publishing, some families choose to hire someone to write their obituaries.
Obituaries do not have to be expensive. In fact, they don’t cost any money if you write it yourself.
The best obituaries are written by a loved one who had a special relationship with the person who passed away. The expense of an obituary occurs when you publish it in a newspaper.
Writing an obituary is free, if a family member or close friend writes it. Publishing an obituary in a newspaper costs money. If your family wishes to publish your loved one’s obituary, you can ask your funeral home team to handle the arrangements. Or, you can work directly with your local newspaper.
If the funeral home handles the obituary arrangements, the cost is typically added to the overall service fees. If you handle it, you’ll pay for it online when you submit it to the paper.
An obituary is the final tribute to a loved one. It should capture his or her personality. Their best characteristics. And their most memorable traits.
Obituaries are life stories. Family and friends read an obituary to remember the significant events, biggest loves, and greatest accomplishments of the person who passed away.
When writing an obituary, tell the best story of your loved one. Include details and specific information you want future generations to know.
There’s no right or wrong way to write an obituary. Circa Legacy recommends organizing an obituary into three parts – the introduction, middle, and ending.
First, write the introduction. Add a couple attention-grabbing lines to define your loved one. It also lists the deceased’s full name, age, and the date and place of death. Next, the middle section. It’s the longest part. It contains your loved one’s childhood, significant life events, and the people, places, and things he or she most loved. Finally, write the obituary ending. It defines your loved one’s legacy, surviving relatives, and details about the funeral and burial services.
Writing an obituary is a wonderful tribute to your loved one. Good luck! You can do it!
We’re not going to sugar coat this; a good obituary can take a couple of hours to write.
There are facts to be gathered. Stories to be remembered. Legacies to be determined and defined. Plus, obituaries are typically written under short deadlines.
When your loved one dies, it’s important to write the obituary quickly. You want to get the word out and alert people about the death. Obituaries are typically published within a day or two of the death.
But, don’t let a ticking clock rush you through the writing process. Take as much time as you need to write the story you want. If you need some help writing an obituary, visit the How to Write a Good Obituary page or purchase our Obituary Kit.
Writing an obituary for a mother or father? This is a deeply emotional process. It can feel overwhelming. A grieving child has a lot to think about, in addition to all the details for an obituary.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Circa Legacy can help. Organize the obituary into three parts – the introduction, the middle, and the ending.
Each part of the obituary is comprised of a few key details. The introduction has attention-grabbing lines that define who the person was. It also lists the deceased’s full name, age, and date and place of death. The middle section is the longest. It contains information about their childhood, significant life events, and the people, places, and things they loved. The obituary ending defines the person’s legacy, survivors, and details about the funeral and burial services.
Most obituaries end with a list of surviving family members. When listing the surviving family members, use this format: full name of family member, his or her spouse’s name in parentheses, and city of residence.
For example: He is survived by his 2 daughters: Katy Smith (Kevin) of Adel, Iowa, and Sherie Barker (Steve Ford) of Des Moines, Iowa.
Begin with the most immediate family members. Follow this order: parents, spouse/partner, children, siblings, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Depending on your family’s size and the deceased’s wishes, you may include other relatives.
Obituaries say “survived by” to help the reader identify the deceased person’s family members. “Survived by” is a way of saying, here are all the immediate families members who are still alive. It helps the readers identify people they might want to contact to express their condolences.
We’re sorry your dad is gone. This is a really tough time for you. Dad’s are one of the most important relationships we have.
It’s awesome you want to write your dad’s obituary. This is an opportunity to showcase his best traits and qualities. You can help define his legacy to the world and future generations of your family.
Mothers are special. It’s one of the most important relationships of our lives. We’re so sorry your mother is gone. But, it’s amazing you want to write your mom’s obituary.
This is an opportunity to showcase her best traits and qualities. To help define her legacy to the world and future generations of your family.
There are few relationships as special as that of a sister. Your sister or sister-in-law is a special person. It’s great you want to write her obituary.
This is an opportunity to showcase her best traits and qualities. This story will help define her legacy to the world and future generations of your family.
It’s a great gesture of love for your brother to write his obituary. Brothers are an amazing part of our lives. It’s really fantastic you want to write your brother’s obituary.
This is an opportunity to showcase your brother’s best traits and qualities. To help define his legacy to the world and future generations of your family.
Grandmas are the best. They’re amazing and wonderful people. They give the best hugs. They make the best cookies. And they’re some of the greatest cheerleaders we’ll ever have in our lives.
It’s awesome you’re writing your grandma’s obituary. This is a chance to showcase her best traits and qualities. You can help define your grandma’s legacy to the world and to future generations of your family.
Aunts and uncles have known us since the day we were born. They know all our stories and accomplishments. They supported us through all our awkward phases.
Writing an obituary for your aunt or uncle is a great tribute to your relationship. This is an opportunity to showcase their best traits and qualities and define their legacy to the world.
Grandpas are the coolest guys. They tell the best stories. They laugh at our jokes. They tease us and are always happy to see us.
It’s really neat you want to write your grandpa’s obituary. This is an opportunity to showcase his best traits and qualities. You can help define his legacy to the world. And help future generations get to know your grandpa.
If you need some help writing an obituary for your grandpa, visit the How to Write a Good Obituary page or go to the kit store and purchase our Obituary Kit. By the way, we’re so sorry you lost your grandpa. ☹
Writing a best friend’s obituary is an amazing tribute to your friendship. You might want to team up with one of his/her family members to fill in some of the details about his/her life.
Use this opportunity to showcase your friend’s best traits and qualities and help define his or her legacy to the world. If you need some help, visit the How to Write a Good Obituary page [link to page] or go to the kit store and purchase our Obituary Kit.
There is nothing as heart-breaking as an obituary for a child or baby. Think about the family and friends who are grieving the child’s loss, and write a story to bring them comfort.
When writing obituaries for children, talk about what they enjoyed doing. What traits and characteristics they were known for. Who they enjoyed spending time with. What activities they enjoyed. Describe their life as best you can. Ask the readers to do something in memory of the baby or child. Suggest they donate their time or money to the family’s favorite charity.
Writing a teacher’s obituary is an amazing gesture of respect. You might want to team up with one of his/her family members to fill in some of the details. Use this opportunity to showcase your teacher’s best traits and qualities and help define their legacy to the world. If you need some help, visit the How to Write a Good Obituary page or go to the kit store and purchase our Obituary Kit.
You write an obituary for someone who served in the military just like you do any other obituary.
His or her military service was one part of their life. Depending on how long they served, their military service may be just a sentence in the obituary. Or, it could be the main part of their life story.
The key to an obituary with style is to provide lots of good and interesting details. Write a story about your loved one’s biggest accomplishments.
When writing an obituary for a woman who had a maiden name, simply write her first name and then in parentheses write her maiden name and then her married last name. For instance, Laura (Ingalls) Wilder, Marie (Sklodowska) Curie or Julia (McWilliams) Childs.
The correct way to write someone’s nickname in an obituary is to write his first name, then his nickname in quotes, and then his last name.
For instance, Theron “Pud” Barnett or George “Babe” Ruth or Henry “Hank” Aaron. For a woman, it can be a bit trickier if you need to list her a nickname and a maiden name. The format of a woman’s name would be: first name, nickname in quotes, maiden last name in parenthesis and then married last name. For example, Vanita “Maxine” (Drake) Barnett.
If you want to write an obituary with humor, tread lightly. When done well, it can be a fun and loving tribute to a person who appreciated a good joke.
But not everyone can pull off humor in an obituary. When done poorly, it will come off as distasteful and disrespectful. If you want to write an obituary with humor, write from the heart and keep it a loving tribute, not a roast of the deceased. This site has some great examples of obituaries written with humor. Good luck!
According to research conducted by www.legacy.com, the average obituary length is 836 characters.
But, there’s no set word count for an obituary. You can make it as long or short as you want. If you publish the obituary in a larger-sized newspaper, you will typically be charged for each word. Longer obituaries will cost more than shorter ones.
According to the fun and helpful website www.rhymezone.com, 152 words and phrases almost rhyme with obituaries. Some of our favorites: adversaries, juniper berries, beneficiaries, confectioneries, luminaries, secretaries, and fiduciaries.
However, no word rhymes perfectly with obituaries. Fascinating!
Hola! It’s fun to look up words in other languages. According to www.Spanishdict.com, the Spanish word for obituary is el obituario. That’s a pretty cool translation. In case you were wondering, the Spanish translation of Circa Legacy is Circa Legado.
The word “obituaries” is pronounced: uh bi choo eh reez.
OK, before we answer this question, let’s explain what it means. A primary source, according to Wikipedia, is an artifact, document, diary, manuscript, autobiography, recording, or any other source of information created at a specific time in history that is under study.
Primary sources are documents, images, or artifacts that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a historical topic under research investigation.
Because newspapers are considered a primary source and obituaries are published as stories in newspapers, they could be considered a primary source. But you might want to check with your history professor before you take our word for it.
We love grammar and synonym questions! According to thesaurus.com, there are several synonyms for the word obituary, including obit, announcement, and death notice. There also are some unusual synonyms, like necrology and mortuary tribute.
Hey, we know the answer to this one! Obituary is a noun. But, and here’s where things get interesting, it can also be an adjective. For example: The obituary page is the most popular section of the local newspaper. In that usage, it’s an adjective. But in this sentence, it’s a noun: I wrote an obituary for my dear grandpa.
Thank you, Grandma Maxine, for all those English lessons!
Wow, you’re really testing us now. We had to Google this one. According to Wikipedia, there is an American death metal band called Obituary. The band formed in Tampa, Florida in 1984 and has released 10 albums.
Dr. Who obituaries… What an interesting question! Our apologies, but we haven’t watched that television show. We’ve heard it’s good, and it must be since it’s be on the air for decades.
But we’re not sure the best website to find information about all the people who have played Dr Who. A good place to start your search is The Dr. Who page on Wikipedia. Good luck!
What an awesome question! We love Harry Potter, too!
We did not want to mess up this answer so we went to the experts at Harry Potter Fandom for the answer.
Elphias Doge, a longtime friend, wrote Albus Dumbledore’s obituary. Doge was a British pure-blood wizard, a Ministry of Magic jurist, and a member of the Order of the Phoenix in both the First and Second Wizarding Wars. He wrote Dumbledore’s obituary for the Daily Prophet newspaper. And he did a fine job. It was a very nice tribute to a wizard who lived an extraordinary life.
Yes, we can spell obituary. Can you? 😊 Sorry, we couldn’t resist. If you would like the official dictionary entry for obituary, here you go.
Many companies can help you create a bookmark from an obituary. We have not personally used any of these companies, so we don’t have a recommendation. But if you Google “obituary bookmarks” you will find lots of options. Good luck!
And, by the way, we like this idea – it’s a great way to keep remembering your loved one each time you read a good book.
Newspapers usually offer free obituary searches for obituaries published in the last several years.
If you don’t know what newspaper the obituary was published in, go to www.obituaries.com. This site allows you to search for published obituaries in the United States and Canada. Good luck!
Like many cool customs in modern society, the good ol’ Romans created the first obituaries.
According to Wikipedia, the Roman officials carved notices on stone or metal and posted them in public places. The Acta Diurna, which translates to Daily Public Records, contained a mix of official court news and private notices like births, marriages, and deaths. The death notices were the first obituaries. Cool, right?
Obituaries are published in newspapers, both print and digital versions, and on funeral home websites. Newspapers charge a fee for publishing an obituary, which can vary greatly based on the size and location of the newspaper.
Call the newspaper office or search their website for “obituary submissions” to determine the process and cost for publishing an obituary. If you’re working with a funeral home, they often publish obituaries on their websites as part of their services. The funeral home staff may also offer to send the obituary to your local newspaper and any other newspapers you choose.
There’s no law or requirement to publish an obituary in a newspaper. Many people choose to do it because it notifies people that their loved one has passed away. Social media, funeral home websites, and online obituary listings can also get the word out. Your family can decide where you wish to publish the obituary.
If you write an obituary for a loved one, we invite you to upload it to the Circa Legacy Obituary Hall of Fame for all to see!
Timing is critical for obituaries. It’s important to quickly alert the public of your loved one’s death and provide information about how, when and where they can share their sympathies.
Most obituaries are written and published within 1 to 3 days of the death. If there are no public funeral services, you can wait longer to publish your obituary.
An obituary can be placed or published in a newspaper by a family member or by the funeral home handling arrangements for the deceased person.
There is typically a fee to publish an obituary, ranging from $30 to $50 for smaller newspapers and $2,000+ for large metropolitan newspapers.
Most newspapers have a simple online filing system that makes it easy to upload your obituary and pay to have it published.
If you are looking for a template to help you write an obituary, you’ve come to the right place! Circa Legacy sells a downloadable obituary template with a worksheet and discussion guide outlining all the information you will need to collect to write your loved one’s obituary. The guide also includes examples and ideas for writing a good obituary. Good luck!
If you just need a refresher on how to outline your obituary, read our Obituary Writing page. It provides a good template to help you tell a great story about your loved one’s life.
You can find obituary examples on the Circa Legacy website, including this one written for our dear, dear Grandpa Pud. We also highlight good obituaries written by our customers and friends in the Circa Legacy Obituary Hall of Fame.
Finally, most newspapers and newspaper websites publish obituaries you can read for free. Reading other obituaries can give you ideas for the obituary you’re writing. Look how the writer outlined their loved ones life. Pay attention to phrases and styles you like. What stood out to you in the obituary?
An obituary is not a legal document and is not required by law (at least according to the research we did).
However, state law requires a death certificate to be filed. The funeral home helping you with arrangements can help you through the filing process.
We had to look this one up. Obituary piracy is the act of stealing or copying an obituary for the nefarious purpose of making money from it or directing traffic to your website, or both.
Geez, stealing someone’s obit to make money? That’s despicable. Don’t do it.
An obituary is not a legal document and therefore is not required by law. However, state law requires a death certificate to be filed. The funeral home helping you with arrangements can help you through the filing process.
A public record is a record required by law to be made and kept. Public records are typically a record made by a public officer or a government agency in the course of the performance of a duty.
Therefore, obituaries are not public records because they are not required by law to be written and published. A death certificate, on the other hand, is considered a vital notice that must be filed with the state government. It is required by federal law for all states to keep death records.
Copyright law is not our expertise. And copyright law and obituaries is a rather complicated matter so we suggest heading over to The US Gen Web Project and reading their page on copyright law.
Or, if you’re feeling very adventurous and like to read, you can go to the original government copyright source, www.copyright.gov. Good luck!
Obituaries are not mandatory. They are not required by law to be written or published. But … if you’re considering skipping the obituary because it’s too overwhelming to write or you don’t think you have the time, please reconsider it.
An obituary is the final tribute to your loved one, the final loving gesture you can give them to ensure the world remembers their contribution.
Wow, interesting question. We have never considered this. First, we’re not tax experts. Not at all. We pay someone to do our taxes. But, according to our 30-second research on this subject, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not allow individual taxpayers to deduct obituary expenses on their income tax. You should probably talk to your accountant or tax adviser, just to be safe.
It would be difficult to make an obituary private – especially in the case of a notable public figure or celebrity. Because an obituary is an announcement of someone’s death, they are usually searchable on online newspapers and funeral home websites.
Do not write and publish an obituary if you wish it to remain private. Instead, write a nice story about your loved one’s life and personally distribute it to your family and close friends. If you need some help writing an obituary, visit the How to Write a Good Obituary page or purchase our Obituary Kit.
Obituaries are not automatically written by the obituary fairies. They must be written by a family member, friend, funeral home staff member, professional writer, or someone else.
And obituaries must be written quickly, sometimes in a matter of hours or in a day or two. If you need help writing an obituary, visit the How to Write a Good Obituary page or purchase our Obituary Kit.
If you’re a famous person, like a public figure, celebrity, athlete, author, musician, scoundrel, etc., it’s possible the newspapers have already written your obituary. Newspapers write obituaries in advance so they’re prepared to quickly publish them when the famous person passes away.
Weird, isn’t it? But, if you’re like the rest of us non-famous people, your obituary will likely be written after you pass away. Hopefully, it will be written by a loving family member or friend who can tell your story and give you the tribute you deserve.
An obituary should be written by someone who loved and admired the deceased person.
Obituaries are often written by a family member, or group of family members. But anyone who can add loving memories and thoughtful summaries to the facts about the deceased person’s life can be an obituary writer.
Before turning this important job over to a stranger, consider writing the obituary yourself. You can do it! You want your loved one to have the best obituary ever – this is the final story the world will read about this person you loved. Don’t you want to be the one to write it?
Any close relative or friend of the deceased person can write the obituary. Many funeral homes offer this service as well.
However, before you ask a stranger to write the final story about your loved one – consider writing it yourself! You knew this person. You loved them. You appreciated them. You’re the one who should write a tribute to them.
Anyone can write an obituary, including you! You don’t have to be a professional writer to write a good obituary.
The best obituaries are written by non-professionals who loved the person who died. You know your loved one best. You know the legacy he or she hoped to leave behind. You know the details and special stories that others want to hear.
You, another family member, or close friend will write a much better obituary than anyone you hire to write it for you. If you need some help writing an obituary, visit the How to Write a Good Obituary page or purchase our Obituary Kit.
Newspapers can and do write obituaries, but typically only for noteworthy people, like leaders, visionaries, celebrities, notorious individuals, celebrated athletes, etc.
Newspapers do not usually write obituaries for “ordinary” people like all of us. However, you don’t need a professional to write your obituary or one for your loved one. Simply follow our obituary template or download our Obit Kit.
An obituary could be read at a funeral. But we haven’t attended many funerals where they were read.
It’s more common for people to read eulogies at a funeral or a passage from a book or a poem. But, it’s your loved one’s funeral. Do whatever you wish to honor your loved one and bring comfort to yourself and the rest of your family in this difficult time.
In many cultures, it is customary to show your regard for the deceased person by sending flowers or plants to his or her funeral or memorial service.
When an obituary states, “in lieu of flowers,” it means the family does not wish for flowers or plants to be sent to the service. Instead, they may want you to make a small monetary donation to a favorite charity or organization in the name of their loved one.
It’s not necessary to purchase something to share your condolences with the family. You could send a note or card with a favorite memory of the person who passed away.
Choosing a photo to go with an obituary is really a matter of personal preference. Many people choose a recent photo (taken within the last 5 years) for their loved one’s obituary.
Others choose a favorite photo from their loved one’s past – maybe a high school graduation photo, a wedding photo, a military photo, etc. It’s really up to you and your family. Some people choose their own obituary photo and leave it in their estate planning documents. Check to see if your loved one did this.
Remember, when published in a newspaper, obituary photos are typically small. If you want people to recognize your loved one, look for a photograph that clearly shows your loved one’s face (often called a head shot).
Click here for more tips on writing your loved one’s obituary or you can download our Obit Kit.
At the end of an obituary, it is common for the family to list an organization or charity where people can make a monetary donation in the deceased person’s name.
Go to the How to Write a Good Obituary page for examples.
It also is acceptable not to list a charity in the obituary. It’s really up to your family and what your loved one would have wanted. Some people leave instructions in their estate planning documents about which charity they would like people to support.
You don’t have to list a public service or funeral details in an obituary. The obituary is the story of your loved one’s life. Focus on telling the story, and at the end, simply write, “There will be no public services, but friends and family can leave remembrances on the funeral home website.”
Then, list the name of the funeral home and a link to their website. Some people also list a charity or organization where friends and family can donate in the name of the deceased. Follow our free How to Write an Obituary guide or purchase our Obituary Kit for more help.
Military honors are a special event held at the funerals of U.S. military personnel who are eligible for a military funeral honors detail.
According to military.com, the law defines military funeral honors as a funeral event consisting of two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one of them being a member of the deceased veteran’s parent service of the armed forces.
For more information about military funeral honors, visit https://www.military.com/benefits/burial-and-memorial/military-funeral-honors.html.
To write about a funeral service with military honors in your loved one’s obituary, simply state, “There will be a gravesite service with military honors at [date and time].”
In the United States, a celebration of life is either a stand-alone event to celebrate someone who has passed away, or it’s an event held before, after or during a traditional funeral service or memorial service.
To write about a celebration of life in an obituary, simply state at the end of the obituary, “There will be a celebration of life ceremony at [place of event] on [date and time].” Follow our free How to Write an Obituary guide or purchase our Obituary Kit for more help.
Jeez, this is a good question. We’re going to get philosophical for a minute.
There is nothing preventing a family from writing a critical obituary. However, we would argue that an obituary is not the place to air grievances and point out faults.
After all, no one is perfect. Some people are downright rotten. And it stinks when the rotten ones are in your family. But an obituary is not a report card of how that person treated you and other family members.
An obituary should be the full story of a person’s life. If you are asked to write an obituary for someone and you have nothing nice to say about them, it is perfectly acceptable and wise to refuse to write it. Instead, allow someone else who might have had a different relationship with him or her to write it.
A lot of people have written fake obituaries to common sense – mainly to complain about modern society and its lack of intelligence.
If you Google it, there are dozens and dozens of common sense obituaries.
This is an interesting question. First, define “obsessed.”
Many people read the obituary section of their newspaper every day. We wouldn’t call that an obsession, just an interest and curiosity about the members of their community.
We’re not particularly sure what you’d have to do to be defined as “obsessed with obituaries” but if you Google it, there are several articles about people who apparently have a fascination with reading them.
Well, this is a tough question to answer.
First, we suggest you politely decline writing this obituary and assign the task to someone else. Your feelings about this person are 100 percent valid and if you don’t believe this person deserves your time to write about his/her life, then you absolutely should not do it.
We believe everyone who lived on this planet should have an obituary to commemorate that life. But, you certainly don’t have to be the one to write it. Politely decline the task of writing the obituary and go spend some time with people you love and who love you back.
If you are writing the obituary for your former spouse, we suggest teaming up with another family member to help you fill out some of the details you might not have access to.
If your question is how to include an ex-wife, ex-husband, or former spouse in an obituary, here are some guidelines to follow:
If the deceased person has remarried, the current spouse should be listed first in the survivors, followed by the children and parents of the deceased person.
If you wish to list former spouses with the survivors (and this is totally up to the family to decide), these names should be listed after the immediate relatives.
The easiest answer to the question of who to include in an obituary is all the people who loved and cared for the person who died.
It’s common to list all immediate family members: spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, and their significant others. Depending on your family size, you might list aunts and uncles, close cousins, and other relatives. Just be sure not to leave anyone in the immediate family out.
If your question is how to write about someone’s ex-wife, ex-husband, or former spouse in an obituary, here are some guidelines.
If the deceased person has remarried, list the current spouse’s name first in the survivors, followed by the children and parents of the deceased person. If you wish to list former spouses with the other survivors (and this is totally up to the family to decide), these names should be listed after the immediate family members.
If your question is how to write an obituary for someone who has two or more wives or husbands at the same time, then you can simply include all of them in the list of survivors. You might want to list them alphabetically, by marriage date, or in whatever order makes the most sense to your family.
Stepchildren and stepparents are an important part of people’s lives and should be included in your loved one’s obituary.
List stepchildren and stepparents alongside biological parents and siblings. When listing survivors, aim to be as inclusive as possible.
If you are writing an obituary for someone who has two wives or multiple spouses, treat it as you would any obituary. List all of the spouses in the survivors’ section.
You could list the spouses’ names alphabetically, in order of marriage dates, or whatever way makes sense for your family. Follow our free How to Write an Obituary guide or purchase our Obituary Kit for more help.
It is very common to have a blended family and there are several ways to list them in an obituary. Just remember, it’s important to include everyone.
For stepparents, write the obituary to say: [Name] was raised by mother [name] and stepfather [name], along with father [name] and stepmother [name].
To write about stepsiblings or half-siblings, write the obituary to say: [Name] is survived by siblings [list all their names] and stepsiblings (or half-siblings) [list names].
If it is a particularly complicated family and you don’t know how to handle all the survivors, you can simply write the obituary like this: [Name] is survived by a host of loving relatives and friends. Don’t worry. It’s not cheating to write it that way! Sometimes it’s better not to get too specific so no one’s feelings are hurt.
Back before the Internet, the best way to announce the death of a loved one was to publish it in the local newspaper. Now in the digital age we live in, many people still choose to publish obituaries in newspapers.
Depending on the size of the newspaper, there may be a small fee to publish an obituary, or it may cost a significant amount of money if it’s a long obituary. Others just publish an obituary on the funeral home’s website and spread the word on social media channels.
If there is wrong or missing information in the obituary, you can correct it and republish it. Once, when our company owner was a newspaper reporter intern, one of her weekend duties was typing in the obituaries. If she incorrectly typed any information, the newspaper had to republish a free, corrected version of the obituary. (Luckily, this never happened to her.)
But, if you forget to list your Uncle Doug as a survivor or the funeral home misspelled Victoria’s husband’s name, then you or the funeral home will have to pay to have the corrected obituary published again. If the newspaper made the mistake, they should publish a corrected version for free. Understand?
Download our obituary writing template or read our obituary writing guide to help you write the best obituary for your loved one.