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How to Write an Obituary

After a loved one passes away, it might seem like there is an endless number of preparations that need to be made. Do you know how to write an obituary? One of the most important things to do is draft an obituary. An obituary is a short piece of writing, usually written by the deceased’s family, that contains information about the death and funeral or memorial service. If you find yourself having to write an obituary for someone you know, follow the steps below to make sure you include all important elements:

1. Start with the basics: At a minimum, you’ll want to include the full name, places, and dates of birth and death, and the age of the deceased. If you’re comfortable with sharing the cause of death, you can add that, too.

2. Give some biographic information: It’s a nice touch to include some details about the person’s life in the obituary. It is often helpful to reach out to relatives, co-workers, and friends of the deceased in order to get accurate information. You may want to discuss things like where the person worked or list some of their hobbies so that those reading the obituary can feel better connected to the person.

3. List family members: The obituary should contain a comprehensive list of relatives of the deceased, including spouse(s), children, siblings and parents if applicable. Some of these you may want to name, while some you can simply give their relationship to the deceased. Spouses of children should also be listed in parenthesis.

4. Give funeral or memorial information: You’ll want to make sure the funeral or memorial service information is extremely detailed. This should include an address, phone number and website of the funeral home. If the deceased is being buried, be sure to include where the burial will take place so that funeral attendees know where they can expect to travel to.

5. Mention any charities people can donate to: It’s common for those who pass away to request donations to a certain charity or religious organization in lieu of gifts of flowers to the family. This is usually decided in any pre-planning done by the deceased prior to their death. Mention where people can make donations to in the obituary so that people can support the cause.

Obituaries are often overlooked but are an extremely important piece of information after someone has died. If you are in charge of writing an obituary for someone you know, make it clear and concise so that readers are able to follow along. Don’t skip any important details that readers should act on, like where the funeral service will be, where the burial will take place, and who they can make a donation to. It’s equally important to make it personal to the deceased and give readers an idea of who the person was and how their life was spent.

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