Enter your keyword

Obituary Writing Guide

An obituary documents the life of the deceased, informs the public of death and gives information about funeral and memorial arrangements. The goal is to pay respect and honor to those who have died, while notifying the public of his or her death. This article will give useful tips to help you get started writing an obituary.

20% NewHot
Lovely Dove Funeral Program
Lovely Dove Funeral Program Template

Lovely Dove Funeral Program 8.5 x 11

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Simple Nature Funeral Template
Simple Nature Funeral Program Template

Simple Nature Funeral Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Golden Autumn Funeral Template
Golden Autumn Funeral Program Template

Golden Autumn Funeral Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Cloud Land Funeral Program
Cloud Land Funeral Program Template

Cloud Land Funeral Program

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
26.3% New
Aesthetic funeral template
Main Aesthetic funeral template

Aesthetic Funeral Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
26.3% New
Lovable Funeral Template
Main Lovable Funeral Template

Lovable Funeral Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
26.3% New
Pink Floral Funeral Template
Main Pink Floral Funeral Template

Pink Floral Funeral Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
26.3% New
Front Decent Funeral template
Front Decent Funeral template

Decent Funeral Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Sky High Funeral Program
Sky High Funeral Program Inner

Sky High Funeral Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Terra Funeral Program Template
Terra Funeral Program Template

Terra Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Tree Branch Funeral Program Template
Front Tree branch Funeral Template

Tree Branch Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Plushy Funeral Program Template
Front Plushy Funeral Program Template

Plushy Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print

There are two types of obituaries, short and concise or longer and more detailed. Short and concise obituaries are often used as death announcements and can be submitted to local newspapers. It’s usually a simple paragraph or two that gives basic information about the deceased and funeral plans. The shortest type of obituary will contain the deceased’s full name, place of residence, date of birth, date of death, plans for funeral or memorial services, wake and burial. If you are tasked to submit an obituary to the newspaper and are using a funeral home, start there first. Funeral directors usually can help with paperwork, and may submit the obituary on your behalf. Some funeral homes may even include the cost of a standard newspaper obituary in their administrative fees. If you are submitting the obituary on your own, get sample obituaries and information from your local newspaper. This will give you a good idea of the style of obituary that the newspapers uses. This may also help you determine of how much you will want to write, and give you an estimated word count or newspaper column inch sizes. Word count is important, since newspapers will charge based on how many words, or how many inches your obituary uses.

The longer obituary gives a more complete account of the life of deceased. It often has a very personal tone, and helps the reader or listener understand the personality of the deceased. Longer obituaries are sometimes included in funeral programs and printed keepsakes. They may also be read at the funeral or memorial service. Longer obituaries will generally include:

  • Full Name
  • Date of birth, place of birth
  • Date of death, place of death
  • Circumstances of death (This section is optional, and may be general or specific)
  • Plans for the viewing (if applicable)
  • Name of high school or college from which he/she attended or graduated
  • Military service and decorations
  • Religious affiliation, such as church or synagogue
  • Jobs held/Career Information- including retirement
  • Names and relations of family members, both surviving and pre-deceased, to include parents, siblings, spouse, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren
  • Awards/Recognitions received
  • Organizations to which the deceased belonged (volunteer work, fraternal organizations, veterans’ groups, religious orders)

A picture may or may not be included with the obituary. Some families choose a recent picture while others use a picture from an earlier time in the deceased’s life when he or she was younger, perhaps from high school, marriage, or the military.

There are many resources available to assist you with writing the perfect obituary. The Internet has a wealth of information, tips, templates and samples to help get you started. Your funeral director or celebrant may also have resources and samples. Personal documents such as birth certificates, resumes and military paperwork of the deceased many also be helpful with helping you get all the details of the deceased’s life.

Obituary Writing Guide




funeral program template