A guide to writing a death notice

A guide to writing a death notice


A death notice can be done in many ways, and this guide will inform you on how to write one that contains all the basic, necessary information.


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Someone has to notify the deceased's relatives, friends, and colleagues of their passing when a person dies.

If it's your family member or close friend who passed away, you may be asked to do it yourself. It's an obligation that you have to fulfill amid grief.

Writing a death notice isn't easy, especially if you're really close to the deceased. However, it's definitely an important task to accomplish, so people who need to know about the passing and the funeral's details will be informed.

Fortunately, similar to how writing a last will and testament with platforms such as Willed, publishing a death notice can now be done quickly online. This can help anyone avoid feeling incredibly overwhelmed.

A death notice can be done in many ways, but this post will guide you on how to write one that contains all the basic, necessary information. Read on to learn more.

1. Finding a publisher for the death notice

The first step to writing a death notice is finding any platform willing to publish the announcement. Your options include:

Newspaper: When submitting it to local newspapers, the death notice should be as concise as possible because they tend to charge by length. That said, unnecessary wordings and repeating thoughts must be cut out from the final piece.

Some newspapers, though, ask for a standard price instead. Newspapers that also publish via their websites are usually the ones that prefer standard pricing.

If that's the case, don't hesitate to ask their representative if you can include more words in the notice and if there'll be any extra cost for it.

The pricing of newspaper outlets for death notices also depends on when you want the announcement published. A weekday issue is likely more affordable than a weekend one.

Religious organisations: Nowadays, most religious organisations already maintain a website. They also accept death notices, provided that the announcement is about one of their members.

Consider sending them a copy to determine if your close friend or loved one was heavily involved in their activities. Government and non-government volunteer groups also accept death notices of their registered members.

Death notice or obituary platforms: There are now dedicated platforms for death notices and obituaries that allow people to publish announcements for free or for a fee. They're worth checking out, too.

Social media pages: In an Internet-dependent and more connected world, posting a death notice on the social media accounts of the deceased, such as Facebook and Instagram, is also a good move.

This will ensure that even old acquaintances of your close friend or loved one will see the announcement online, especially those already living in other countries.

2. Including all the necessaryinformation

Writing a death notice involves gathering information about the deceased. Checking your close friend or family member's online profile in their social media accounts can help you obtain as many personal details as possible.

Of course, you can also talk to your other friends or family members to find more information.

Some of the basic, necessary information you'll need to include are:

  • The deceased's full name
  • Date of birth
  • Age
  • Where and when they passed away
  • Name of wife or husband (significant other)
  • Details regarding the funeral or a celebration of life service
  • Contact details if the funeral service's schedule hasn't been set yet

In addition to the above mentioned information, you can include more depending on how much space you have. However, since space will be limited, you have to decide which details you'll prioritise.

If there's still room for more information, the following details can also be added:

  • Schools attended
  • College degree (include postgraduate degree, if applicable)
  • Employment or career history
  • Religious work or any volunteer programs the deceased was active while still alive
  • Rank in the military and years of service
  • Any professional awards received

When deciding what extra details to include, it's essential to focus on the life of your close friend or family member. Think about their interests and what brought them joy. If the family accepts donations, like flowers or financial assistance for the funeral, mention it as well.

Note that some publications allow for a photo of the deceased to be added for free. However, some also ask for a fee for it. Make sure to follow the photo requirements of the newspaper or the online platform when adding one.

3. Writing and proofreading the death notice before submitting for publication

If it's your first time writing a death notice, it's best to check samples to understand their format and tone better.

However, there's nothing wrong with doing a little bit of experimentation by trying different writing styles. Write up to three drafts and have someone who can provide suggestions or feedback look at it.

The proofreading part is crucial since all information included in the announcement must be accurate. Of course, you must also ensure that you're following the restrictions, guidelines, or template provided by the publisher.

Final Thoughts

A death notice contributes comfort to a deceased individual's grieving family or friends. That's why it has to be heartfelt, contain the correct information, and be published as soon as possible on the right platform.