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How to write an obituary

Bereaved families have to grapple with making key decisions in the midst of grief. One of the greatest tasks in the times of grief is the time to write an obituary. Always remember that the obituary might be the last thing you will be writing about the life of your departed one. You also need to keep in mind that you will be developing a proper farewell detailing the life of the departed one, while serving the public with a notification that someone has passed away any time you write an obituary.

Oftentimes, we are tied with busy schedules, worries and tough arrangements after a loved one has taken the natural sleep. However, the first question that rings our minds is “what is the best way to write an obituary?” Well, please read on for answers.

Here’s what to include in an obituary:

Death announcement

The obituary is meant to raise the awareness of the public that a loved one has departed. The death announcement gives the basic information about the departed soul. Here’s the key information to include in the death announcement:

  • Legal name (full)
  • Nickname
  • Age
  • Place of residence
  • Place of birth
  • Place of death
  • Date of death

You needn’t stress yourself including the cause of death in the obituary if you are not comfortable. However, get the family’s approval if you have to do so.

Write the biographical information in obituary

The biographical information will describe the significant occasions of the deceased’s life in brief. Don’t overdo. Details like schooling history, interests, and professional experience should be included in the biographical information. It would be a great idea to reach out to friends and relatives of the deceased to gather these details.

Surviving family members

It is a customary procedure to include the names of the family members and the key “significant others” that have survived the deceased. Don’t forget the immediate family members that have predeceased the lost soul. The key people to include any time you write an obituary may include:

  • The parents
  • Spouse or partner
  • Children (biological, adopted and step)
  • Siblings
  • Grandchildren
  • In-laws
  • Grandparents

Be keen to list the surviving keens by their legal and nicknames. You may choose to reference other keens not included in the surviving family members’ list by considering the relationship they had with the departed one. For instance, you may note that “the deceased leaves behind two nieces and eight grandchildren”.


Give clear details about the plans laid concerning the services. It would be a great idea to include the address of the place where the scheduled services will be held, time and dates. Be detailed. Include the visitations, funeral ground, and avenues where the memorial services will be held.

Include memorials

This would be essential if the deceased was attached to a particular society or foundation that may be willing to make donations in honor of the departed soul. A statement like “memorial donations to be made to…” would kill it all.

Lastly, make it personal

Ensure that the obituary remains as personal as you can. Write everything you think made the deceased special, tidbits and a little known facts about the departed member.

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