Important Things You Should Know About An Obituary

Jun 28th 2018

If you are new to funeral planning, you may not be familiar with all of the terminology of the process of funerals or memorials. The obituary is an important piece of information you will need to incorporate in your final arrangements. Basically, an obituary is a notice or announcement that a death has occurred. Traditionally, this information is placed and published in a local newspaper and are set apart from other news stories about people who have passed away.

Some newspapers publish short obituaries without any charge while most for a longer obituary notice. In some urban areas where local and regional papers overlap, it's not always where an obituary notice will be placed. Large metropolitan papers tend to view obituaries similar to classified advertising and charge per word or line.

Although most families think they will be able to contact people personally to inform them of a death, an obituary notice still may be necessary. Because it informs the general public which encompasses family and friends of the deceased, it is considered to be a good way of letting people know without having to contact them individually. It may be the quickest form of releasing the news, especially if the deceased was well known in his or her community.

If there are many people to contact, publishing an obituary can prevent the bereaved family from becoming overwhelmed with making the calls since there are other details to tend to. Another alternative would be to send out emails and broadcast it in that manner. There are also press releases available on the internet you can write and direct to your community or within a certain geographical area.

The following are items that are most commonly included in a death notice:

  • The name of the deceased
  • Date, time and place of the visitation or wake (viewing)
  • Date, time and place of the ceremony
  • In addition to the above, a longer obituary may carry more biographical information which may include:

  • Names of spouse, children, and grandchildren.
  • A short biographical statement that might include career information, organizations, honors, military service, etc.
  • The more that is included, the longer the notice will be as well as add to the overall costs. It's a good idea to have several family members or friends read the obituary once it has been written to ensure all items have been included. Make sure the time and location of the visitation or ceremony is indicated so people will know where to go if you are providing an open invite to the public or those who knew the deceased.

    If you would like to save cost on the newspaper notice, just place a condensed version and consider including the longer version in the funeral ceremony program. In this way, you are not limited to the amount of information you can include that will affect your cost. It can also be something to send to family and friends who were not able to attend the service.

    The notice should be one of the first items to take care of once a death has occurred. Typically it takes the newspapers a week in advance to put in the notice but some do offer rush publishing. It is best to inquire about the listing by contacting the publication.