Obituary Writing Tips


As you write an obituary, there are many things to keep in mind; these obituary writing tips will help you complete the obituary accurately and with a focus more on the life than the death.

What is an Obituary?

An obituary is a notice that announces the death of someone with a description of the person's life and list of family members. The obituary is often written by the funeral home or mortuary, but many people choose to write an obituary for their loved one that is published in the newspaper and included in the funeral program.

Ensure what you've written is accurate

Many mistakes can be made by omitting names or information or by misspelling words or names. And less obvious errors might be omitting important facts about the deceased. Check and double check your facts and keep a check list to ensure what you've written is accurate. The best way is to have someone else proofread the obituary and have a family member check over spellings of names and make sure everyone has been included. There also have been cases of dates of birth and death being wrong. All of that can be corrected by simply proofreading.

Include interesting facts about the deceased

All lives have meaning and are important and most of the time there is some detail or event that sets this life apart from the others. Find that detail and include it in your obituary. Perhaps the deceased lived to be over 100, or was awarded an honor of some sort. Seek out these interesting facts and include them at all costs.

Write more than one version of the obituary

For the sake of space in the newspaper, you may have to keep the announcement brief and only submit a death notice. But there are places online that post full-length obituaries and of course a complete obituary can be included in the funeral program. Find out the difference between a death notice, newspaper obituary and a funeral obituary at Writing more than one version can serve several purposes and allow you the opportunity to write out all the interesting facts you find.

Make it joyful and focused on the life

All too often the death of a loved one leaves us feeling like we can only focus on the sadness and the death. But an obituary should not focus on our sadness or on the death. A good obituary includes the life and joy of living that the deceased had. Just because he or she is dead, is no reason to avoid writing about the joy in his or her life. Writing about the positive honors the dead as well as those who loved him or her that are alive to read the obituary.

Quick Obituary Writing Tips

Before you begin to write, get prepared by doing the following:

  • Research how to write an obituary
  • Contact your newspaper to find out how long it can be
  • List out the details of the deceased's life you wish to include
  • Decide which family members to include
  • Focus on the life of the deceased not the death
  • Sit down to write, then leave it for at least 2 hours before revising and editing.
  • Ask for help proofreading the obituary

Writing an obituary need not be a difficult task, there are many places to find obituary templates and tips, you can even find downloadable forms at The best advice for writing obituaries is, use this as an opportunity to celebrate the life of the deceased. Recollect, talk to friends and family and reflect on his or her life.

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