Writing an Obituary

When a loved one dies, many people are dealing with their grief so much, as well as the sadness among the rest of their family. But one task that needs to be done is to write an obituary that announces the person’s death, so that everyone should know, alerting friends and family that you might not even know about.

Unfortunately, we’re not always in the best frame of mind to write an obituary because we’re dealing with the emotional loss inside us. Because of that, there might be some things we forget to include in the write-up, and we might inadvertently leave out a very important attribute about the person or their family.

Knowing how to write an obituary is just the first step, as you then need to fill in all the appropriate answers that an obituary asks. We’ll list out the several most important points that every obituary must have, then you can add in other information afterward.

You can check your local newspaper to get an idea of how other people have written obituaries, and use those as a template. It’s also quite possible that your funeral home provides this obituary-positing service for you, so check with them on length.

How to Write an Obituary

It’s important to understand that, first and foremost, you need the necessary facts about the deceased, or else everything else you write is inconsequential. Here are the things you have to have in your obituary. The length of the obituary is likely measured by price, so find out how much information you can put in for the budget you have in mind.

Biographical Facts

This is all of the obvious stuff, but many times, these are the important things we forget when we write an obituary. Make sure to include the person’s full name, age, date of birth and their city/state of most recent residence. Be prepared to make some phone calls to get the answers to some of these questions.

Name of Spouse/Mate

After the important information, it’s integral to add the name of the widow, so that people can send their condolences directly to them.


After the facts are covered, this is the most important piece, as they’ll be the ones grieving the most, and they’ll most certainly be reading the obituary you write. Double-check the names and spelling of the family, as many will want to clip out the obituary and keep it as a memory – but they’ll get mad if they see their names are spelled incorrectly.

Time/Date/Location For Funeral/Wake

Obviously, you need to have this in your obituary if you want this death announcement to do its job. Where is the funeral or wake going to be and what are the hours for viewing or memorial services. It’s quite possible that you don’t know this information yet, but you can mention the funeral home’s name so that anyone who might be interested can contact them for time of services.

Extra Information

Finally, if you have room, you’ll want to add some other details about the deceased, like:

  • Some of the other cities they’ve lived in
  • Where they were born
  • Other family members (nephews/nieces/aunts/uncles)
  • Special friends they might have had
  • Place of their employment
  • Activities or organizations they might have been involved with, like churches and volunteer groups
  • Military service
  • Schools/university they attended
  • Notable accomplishments

At the end, it might be smart to add a note about where people can make a contribution for a memorial fund, or if they’d like to donate to a specific charity in lieu of sending flowers. Just make sure you add the website or street address for the charity to make it easy.

Knowing how to write an obituary is something good to have in your arsenal of abilities, but you just hope you don’t have to use that skill very often. If you are struggling with the recent passing of a loved one, or struggling with initiating pre-planning services, don’t hesitate to call us for help: (561) 989-9190

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