Estate Planning

Who Does The Obituary When Someone Dies?

Trustworthy

November 1, 2023

|

who does the obituary when someone dies

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

The pain of losing a loved one leaves many scrambling and asking questions on what to do next. One of the common questions people ask is, who does the obituary when someone dies?

The responsibility of whoever writes the obituary does not always fall onto family members and can be flexible. There are specific factors to help you narrow your decision on who should write it.

Key Takeaways

  • The obituary is often written by people close to the deceased person, such as family or friends, though exceptions exist.


  • Key considerations and qualifications like closeness, knowledge, emotional strength, availability, and writing skills should guide the choice of who writes the obituary. 


  • Writing an obituary isn't always a task for just one person. It's common for several people to write an obituary.

What is an Obituary?

The primary purpose of an obituary is to make a formal announcement of one's passing. However, it’s also meant to be a celebration of that person's time on earth.

Obituaries are written in the form of an editorial article. Typically, they contain biographical information such as date of birth, where he/she was raised, marriage(s) and life accomplishments.

Once the obituary is written, it can be sent to a news publication. Most news outlets will publish the obituary either by newspaper or online. Generally, it’s up to the family to decide where and how it is published.

Who Does the Obituary When Someone Dies?

who does the obituary when someone dies

There is no specific rule on writing the obituary of the deceased person. Here are some common examples of who generally writes the obituary of a deceased person.

Family

The most common person to write the obituary is a close relative of the deceased person. It’s worth noting the responsibility should only fall on the person who wants to write it voluntarily.

It’s beneficial to have someone close to the deceased person write it because it reduces the need to do thorough research. It also helps some people through their grieving process, as it allows them to process their thoughts into a beautiful piece of writing.

However, it can be emotionally taxing on the person writing it, so it might be tough on a close family member. It’s difficult to remind themselves the person is no longer with them.

Obituaries are typically written within a week after the person's death. Someone who is grieving might have trouble getting it done in a timely manner.

Friends

If writing an obituary is too emotionally triggering for a family member, then passing the opportunity to a friend is an option. A good friend may also know important details and events to include.

Having a close friend write the obituary will make that person feel honored for having the opportunity to write on the family's behalf.

The drawback of having a friend do it is they might miss some important details about that person’s life. Similar to family, they also may not feel comfortable writing it if they’re feeling too emotional.

The Funeral Home

The funeral home will most likely offer to write the obituary for you. This can be helpful if neither friends nor family feel comfortable writing it.

Since the funeral staff won’t have firsthand information, you will be required to provide details of the deceased person’s life. The staff may ask to interview close friends and family of the person to get the information required to write it.

Funeral Director, Jessica Watts, explains:

“In most cases, the family begins the obituary process and we assist with any editing. However, if the family is unable or unsure on how to begin, then we will write the obituary and submit it to the newspaper of their choice.”

The good thing about having the funeral home write the obituary is the quality will be top notch. However, it can be an expensive service, ranging between $200-$500 alone, depending on the funeral home.

Professional Obituary Writers

Some people make a living writing quality obituaries for their clients. Many are independent contractors or businesses that set their own rates. Some contractors even have their own website dedicated solely to obituaries.

Prices with freelance contractors can differ drastically. Keep in mind you will also have to provide details and photos for the writer, so planning ahead and knowing what you want from it is still required.

The drawback of this method is it can be hard to find a writer under a tight deadline. Also, your experience with the writer may vary. If you go with someone who is on the cheaper end, you should expect to get what you paid for.

How to Decide Who Writes the Obituary When Someone Dies

how to decide who writes the obituary

Writing an obituary not only takes passion but also certain skills and qualifications. The ideal person to write the obituary should have the following factors:

Close Connection

While it is not mandatory, having a close connection with the person helps tremendously when writing a biography on the person. It will also inspire better writing with a strong emotional appeal.

A person who has a close connection with the deceased person knows the most about them. While working under a deadline, it can be useful not to have to spend as much time doing research on the deceased person.

Knowledge of the Deceased

Writing an obituary requires a certain level of knowledge about the deceased person. This includes knowing their life story, achievements and significant events in their life.

If someone has a deep understanding of the deceased person’s life, it’s easier for them to accurately and vividly capture their personality and impact on others through their writing.

Emotional Strength

Emotional resilience should also be considered when deciding who writes an obituary. The person should be emotionally ready to delve into the details of their loved one's life while dealing with grief and loss.

Writing is freeing for some people because it helps them process emotions in a healthy way, but there’s a risk of intensifying feelings if not handled properly, especially soon after death.

Availability

Obituaries can be time-consuming. Due to the unpredictable nature of one’s passing, it could happen at a time when it’s not conventional for most people to be able to focus on it.

The length of an obituary is generally short. A typical obituary is around 200 words. However, some news outlets may accept obituaries that are 450+ words long. While the length is short, the time spent thinking about what to include in it can be overwhelming to loved ones.

In most cases, families have to deal with the legality of the loved one passing. That means getting a death certificate, managing their legal documents and more. It can be daunting, and making time to do everything can be an extreme challenge.

This is where Trustworthy can help you. We specialize in organizing and keeping your family’s documents safe for you.  

Writing Skills

Not everyone is equipped with good writing skills. Writing an obituary does not require an expert writer. However, being able to write well enough to capture the essence of the person is a challenge to many people. In situations like this, hiring a professional writer should be seriously considered.

Writing an obituary can add a lot of pressure. Naturally, you want it to be very well written, as it will be published and opened to criticism to those who read it. Narrowing down on the perfect words and sentences can be a challenge if the person is not experienced with writing in general.

Can Multiple People Write an Obituary?

During times of grief, it may be too hard to have one person within the family write the obituary, which is why collaboration among others is encouraged.

Having multiple people work on the obituary can help get it done on a tight deadline. An obituary requires a lot of work gathering the information, creating an outline, and finding and editing it.

Dividing the work among other friends or family helps make the process much easier. It can also be a bonding experience to have everyone come together to work on a common goal to honor the person they loved.

With that said, having multiple people work on the obituary has the potential to create problems. Creative differences can lead to some clashing and arguing about what should be included. Some may want to include a story or memorable moment in one place, while another person might say no due to limited wordcount. 

The important thing to remember is that the obituary is made to honor the person who is now gone. The focus should be on the deceased person and not on the person or people who are writing the obituary.

Is It OK to Write Your Own Obituary?

is it ok to write your own obituary

While it is uncommon, some people take the liberty of writing their own obituary, and there is nothing wrong with that.

A self-written obituary is often referred to as an auto-obituary. This term applies when a person chooses to write their own obituary, typically knowing they are nearing the end of life. By doing this, they can share important milestones and memories that matter most from their perspective while reducing the burden on loved ones.

One reason for this is out of kindness. A soon-to-be deceased person wants their family to worry less about managing fewer things after their death. Having the obituary already written can help reduce the stress.

As mentioned, writing an obituary takes time and can be sobering. If someone has limited time on earth, they may want to spend the remaining time they have left in peace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long after death do you write an obituary?

Typically, the obituary should be published within a week following somebody's death. If the obituary is to include funeral details, then it needs to be at least three days prior to the funeral.

What should be avoided in an obituary?

An obituary is intended to honor their life rather than dwelling on aspects that might cause discomfort among readers. It usually does not contain embarrassing details or specific details about the person's death. 

Rather, it should focus on positive elements like personal biography, achievements during their lifetime and good memories of them.

How much does it cost to publish an obituary?

The cost to publish an obituary is commonly in the range of $200-$500. Pricing can fluctuate, and it often depends on variables such as length, number of photographs included, or whether you opt for traditional print or an online publication.

What is the best day to publish an obituary?

Sunday tends to be most popular when individuals select a publication date for their loved ones' obituaries. However, an obituary can be published on any day of the week.

Estate Planning

Who Does The Obituary When Someone Dies?

Trustworthy

November 1, 2023

|

who does the obituary when someone dies

The pain of losing a loved one leaves many scrambling and asking questions on what to do next. One of the common questions people ask is, who does the obituary when someone dies?

The responsibility of whoever writes the obituary does not always fall onto family members and can be flexible. There are specific factors to help you narrow your decision on who should write it.

Key Takeaways

  • The obituary is often written by people close to the deceased person, such as family or friends, though exceptions exist.


  • Key considerations and qualifications like closeness, knowledge, emotional strength, availability, and writing skills should guide the choice of who writes the obituary. 


  • Writing an obituary isn't always a task for just one person. It's common for several people to write an obituary.

What is an Obituary?

The primary purpose of an obituary is to make a formal announcement of one's passing. However, it’s also meant to be a celebration of that person's time on earth.

Obituaries are written in the form of an editorial article. Typically, they contain biographical information such as date of birth, where he/she was raised, marriage(s) and life accomplishments.

Once the obituary is written, it can be sent to a news publication. Most news outlets will publish the obituary either by newspaper or online. Generally, it’s up to the family to decide where and how it is published.

Who Does the Obituary When Someone Dies?

who does the obituary when someone dies

There is no specific rule on writing the obituary of the deceased person. Here are some common examples of who generally writes the obituary of a deceased person.

Family

The most common person to write the obituary is a close relative of the deceased person. It’s worth noting the responsibility should only fall on the person who wants to write it voluntarily.

It’s beneficial to have someone close to the deceased person write it because it reduces the need to do thorough research. It also helps some people through their grieving process, as it allows them to process their thoughts into a beautiful piece of writing.

However, it can be emotionally taxing on the person writing it, so it might be tough on a close family member. It’s difficult to remind themselves the person is no longer with them.

Obituaries are typically written within a week after the person's death. Someone who is grieving might have trouble getting it done in a timely manner.

Friends

If writing an obituary is too emotionally triggering for a family member, then passing the opportunity to a friend is an option. A good friend may also know important details and events to include.

Having a close friend write the obituary will make that person feel honored for having the opportunity to write on the family's behalf.

The drawback of having a friend do it is they might miss some important details about that person’s life. Similar to family, they also may not feel comfortable writing it if they’re feeling too emotional.

The Funeral Home

The funeral home will most likely offer to write the obituary for you. This can be helpful if neither friends nor family feel comfortable writing it.

Since the funeral staff won’t have firsthand information, you will be required to provide details of the deceased person’s life. The staff may ask to interview close friends and family of the person to get the information required to write it.

Funeral Director, Jessica Watts, explains:

“In most cases, the family begins the obituary process and we assist with any editing. However, if the family is unable or unsure on how to begin, then we will write the obituary and submit it to the newspaper of their choice.”

The good thing about having the funeral home write the obituary is the quality will be top notch. However, it can be an expensive service, ranging between $200-$500 alone, depending on the funeral home.

Professional Obituary Writers

Some people make a living writing quality obituaries for their clients. Many are independent contractors or businesses that set their own rates. Some contractors even have their own website dedicated solely to obituaries.

Prices with freelance contractors can differ drastically. Keep in mind you will also have to provide details and photos for the writer, so planning ahead and knowing what you want from it is still required.

The drawback of this method is it can be hard to find a writer under a tight deadline. Also, your experience with the writer may vary. If you go with someone who is on the cheaper end, you should expect to get what you paid for.

How to Decide Who Writes the Obituary When Someone Dies

how to decide who writes the obituary

Writing an obituary not only takes passion but also certain skills and qualifications. The ideal person to write the obituary should have the following factors:

Close Connection

While it is not mandatory, having a close connection with the person helps tremendously when writing a biography on the person. It will also inspire better writing with a strong emotional appeal.

A person who has a close connection with the deceased person knows the most about them. While working under a deadline, it can be useful not to have to spend as much time doing research on the deceased person.

Knowledge of the Deceased

Writing an obituary requires a certain level of knowledge about the deceased person. This includes knowing their life story, achievements and significant events in their life.

If someone has a deep understanding of the deceased person’s life, it’s easier for them to accurately and vividly capture their personality and impact on others through their writing.

Emotional Strength

Emotional resilience should also be considered when deciding who writes an obituary. The person should be emotionally ready to delve into the details of their loved one's life while dealing with grief and loss.

Writing is freeing for some people because it helps them process emotions in a healthy way, but there’s a risk of intensifying feelings if not handled properly, especially soon after death.

Availability

Obituaries can be time-consuming. Due to the unpredictable nature of one’s passing, it could happen at a time when it’s not conventional for most people to be able to focus on it.

The length of an obituary is generally short. A typical obituary is around 200 words. However, some news outlets may accept obituaries that are 450+ words long. While the length is short, the time spent thinking about what to include in it can be overwhelming to loved ones.

In most cases, families have to deal with the legality of the loved one passing. That means getting a death certificate, managing their legal documents and more. It can be daunting, and making time to do everything can be an extreme challenge.

This is where Trustworthy can help you. We specialize in organizing and keeping your family’s documents safe for you.  

Writing Skills

Not everyone is equipped with good writing skills. Writing an obituary does not require an expert writer. However, being able to write well enough to capture the essence of the person is a challenge to many people. In situations like this, hiring a professional writer should be seriously considered.

Writing an obituary can add a lot of pressure. Naturally, you want it to be very well written, as it will be published and opened to criticism to those who read it. Narrowing down on the perfect words and sentences can be a challenge if the person is not experienced with writing in general.

Can Multiple People Write an Obituary?

During times of grief, it may be too hard to have one person within the family write the obituary, which is why collaboration among others is encouraged.

Having multiple people work on the obituary can help get it done on a tight deadline. An obituary requires a lot of work gathering the information, creating an outline, and finding and editing it.

Dividing the work among other friends or family helps make the process much easier. It can also be a bonding experience to have everyone come together to work on a common goal to honor the person they loved.

With that said, having multiple people work on the obituary has the potential to create problems. Creative differences can lead to some clashing and arguing about what should be included. Some may want to include a story or memorable moment in one place, while another person might say no due to limited wordcount. 

The important thing to remember is that the obituary is made to honor the person who is now gone. The focus should be on the deceased person and not on the person or people who are writing the obituary.

Is It OK to Write Your Own Obituary?

is it ok to write your own obituary

While it is uncommon, some people take the liberty of writing their own obituary, and there is nothing wrong with that.

A self-written obituary is often referred to as an auto-obituary. This term applies when a person chooses to write their own obituary, typically knowing they are nearing the end of life. By doing this, they can share important milestones and memories that matter most from their perspective while reducing the burden on loved ones.

One reason for this is out of kindness. A soon-to-be deceased person wants their family to worry less about managing fewer things after their death. Having the obituary already written can help reduce the stress.

As mentioned, writing an obituary takes time and can be sobering. If someone has limited time on earth, they may want to spend the remaining time they have left in peace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long after death do you write an obituary?

Typically, the obituary should be published within a week following somebody's death. If the obituary is to include funeral details, then it needs to be at least three days prior to the funeral.

What should be avoided in an obituary?

An obituary is intended to honor their life rather than dwelling on aspects that might cause discomfort among readers. It usually does not contain embarrassing details or specific details about the person's death. 

Rather, it should focus on positive elements like personal biography, achievements during their lifetime and good memories of them.

How much does it cost to publish an obituary?

The cost to publish an obituary is commonly in the range of $200-$500. Pricing can fluctuate, and it often depends on variables such as length, number of photographs included, or whether you opt for traditional print or an online publication.

What is the best day to publish an obituary?

Sunday tends to be most popular when individuals select a publication date for their loved ones' obituaries. However, an obituary can be published on any day of the week.

Estate Planning

Who Does The Obituary When Someone Dies?

Trustworthy

November 1, 2023

|

who does the obituary when someone dies

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

The pain of losing a loved one leaves many scrambling and asking questions on what to do next. One of the common questions people ask is, who does the obituary when someone dies?

The responsibility of whoever writes the obituary does not always fall onto family members and can be flexible. There are specific factors to help you narrow your decision on who should write it.

Key Takeaways

  • The obituary is often written by people close to the deceased person, such as family or friends, though exceptions exist.


  • Key considerations and qualifications like closeness, knowledge, emotional strength, availability, and writing skills should guide the choice of who writes the obituary. 


  • Writing an obituary isn't always a task for just one person. It's common for several people to write an obituary.

What is an Obituary?

The primary purpose of an obituary is to make a formal announcement of one's passing. However, it’s also meant to be a celebration of that person's time on earth.

Obituaries are written in the form of an editorial article. Typically, they contain biographical information such as date of birth, where he/she was raised, marriage(s) and life accomplishments.

Once the obituary is written, it can be sent to a news publication. Most news outlets will publish the obituary either by newspaper or online. Generally, it’s up to the family to decide where and how it is published.

Who Does the Obituary When Someone Dies?

who does the obituary when someone dies

There is no specific rule on writing the obituary of the deceased person. Here are some common examples of who generally writes the obituary of a deceased person.

Family

The most common person to write the obituary is a close relative of the deceased person. It’s worth noting the responsibility should only fall on the person who wants to write it voluntarily.

It’s beneficial to have someone close to the deceased person write it because it reduces the need to do thorough research. It also helps some people through their grieving process, as it allows them to process their thoughts into a beautiful piece of writing.

However, it can be emotionally taxing on the person writing it, so it might be tough on a close family member. It’s difficult to remind themselves the person is no longer with them.

Obituaries are typically written within a week after the person's death. Someone who is grieving might have trouble getting it done in a timely manner.

Friends

If writing an obituary is too emotionally triggering for a family member, then passing the opportunity to a friend is an option. A good friend may also know important details and events to include.

Having a close friend write the obituary will make that person feel honored for having the opportunity to write on the family's behalf.

The drawback of having a friend do it is they might miss some important details about that person’s life. Similar to family, they also may not feel comfortable writing it if they’re feeling too emotional.

The Funeral Home

The funeral home will most likely offer to write the obituary for you. This can be helpful if neither friends nor family feel comfortable writing it.

Since the funeral staff won’t have firsthand information, you will be required to provide details of the deceased person’s life. The staff may ask to interview close friends and family of the person to get the information required to write it.

Funeral Director, Jessica Watts, explains:

“In most cases, the family begins the obituary process and we assist with any editing. However, if the family is unable or unsure on how to begin, then we will write the obituary and submit it to the newspaper of their choice.”

The good thing about having the funeral home write the obituary is the quality will be top notch. However, it can be an expensive service, ranging between $200-$500 alone, depending on the funeral home.

Professional Obituary Writers

Some people make a living writing quality obituaries for their clients. Many are independent contractors or businesses that set their own rates. Some contractors even have their own website dedicated solely to obituaries.

Prices with freelance contractors can differ drastically. Keep in mind you will also have to provide details and photos for the writer, so planning ahead and knowing what you want from it is still required.

The drawback of this method is it can be hard to find a writer under a tight deadline. Also, your experience with the writer may vary. If you go with someone who is on the cheaper end, you should expect to get what you paid for.

How to Decide Who Writes the Obituary When Someone Dies

how to decide who writes the obituary

Writing an obituary not only takes passion but also certain skills and qualifications. The ideal person to write the obituary should have the following factors:

Close Connection

While it is not mandatory, having a close connection with the person helps tremendously when writing a biography on the person. It will also inspire better writing with a strong emotional appeal.

A person who has a close connection with the deceased person knows the most about them. While working under a deadline, it can be useful not to have to spend as much time doing research on the deceased person.

Knowledge of the Deceased

Writing an obituary requires a certain level of knowledge about the deceased person. This includes knowing their life story, achievements and significant events in their life.

If someone has a deep understanding of the deceased person’s life, it’s easier for them to accurately and vividly capture their personality and impact on others through their writing.

Emotional Strength

Emotional resilience should also be considered when deciding who writes an obituary. The person should be emotionally ready to delve into the details of their loved one's life while dealing with grief and loss.

Writing is freeing for some people because it helps them process emotions in a healthy way, but there’s a risk of intensifying feelings if not handled properly, especially soon after death.

Availability

Obituaries can be time-consuming. Due to the unpredictable nature of one’s passing, it could happen at a time when it’s not conventional for most people to be able to focus on it.

The length of an obituary is generally short. A typical obituary is around 200 words. However, some news outlets may accept obituaries that are 450+ words long. While the length is short, the time spent thinking about what to include in it can be overwhelming to loved ones.

In most cases, families have to deal with the legality of the loved one passing. That means getting a death certificate, managing their legal documents and more. It can be daunting, and making time to do everything can be an extreme challenge.

This is where Trustworthy can help you. We specialize in organizing and keeping your family’s documents safe for you.  

Writing Skills

Not everyone is equipped with good writing skills. Writing an obituary does not require an expert writer. However, being able to write well enough to capture the essence of the person is a challenge to many people. In situations like this, hiring a professional writer should be seriously considered.

Writing an obituary can add a lot of pressure. Naturally, you want it to be very well written, as it will be published and opened to criticism to those who read it. Narrowing down on the perfect words and sentences can be a challenge if the person is not experienced with writing in general.

Can Multiple People Write an Obituary?

During times of grief, it may be too hard to have one person within the family write the obituary, which is why collaboration among others is encouraged.

Having multiple people work on the obituary can help get it done on a tight deadline. An obituary requires a lot of work gathering the information, creating an outline, and finding and editing it.

Dividing the work among other friends or family helps make the process much easier. It can also be a bonding experience to have everyone come together to work on a common goal to honor the person they loved.

With that said, having multiple people work on the obituary has the potential to create problems. Creative differences can lead to some clashing and arguing about what should be included. Some may want to include a story or memorable moment in one place, while another person might say no due to limited wordcount. 

The important thing to remember is that the obituary is made to honor the person who is now gone. The focus should be on the deceased person and not on the person or people who are writing the obituary.

Is It OK to Write Your Own Obituary?

is it ok to write your own obituary

While it is uncommon, some people take the liberty of writing their own obituary, and there is nothing wrong with that.

A self-written obituary is often referred to as an auto-obituary. This term applies when a person chooses to write their own obituary, typically knowing they are nearing the end of life. By doing this, they can share important milestones and memories that matter most from their perspective while reducing the burden on loved ones.

One reason for this is out of kindness. A soon-to-be deceased person wants their family to worry less about managing fewer things after their death. Having the obituary already written can help reduce the stress.

As mentioned, writing an obituary takes time and can be sobering. If someone has limited time on earth, they may want to spend the remaining time they have left in peace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long after death do you write an obituary?

Typically, the obituary should be published within a week following somebody's death. If the obituary is to include funeral details, then it needs to be at least three days prior to the funeral.

What should be avoided in an obituary?

An obituary is intended to honor their life rather than dwelling on aspects that might cause discomfort among readers. It usually does not contain embarrassing details or specific details about the person's death. 

Rather, it should focus on positive elements like personal biography, achievements during their lifetime and good memories of them.

How much does it cost to publish an obituary?

The cost to publish an obituary is commonly in the range of $200-$500. Pricing can fluctuate, and it often depends on variables such as length, number of photographs included, or whether you opt for traditional print or an online publication.

What is the best day to publish an obituary?

Sunday tends to be most popular when individuals select a publication date for their loved ones' obituaries. However, an obituary can be published on any day of the week.

Estate Planning

Who Does The Obituary When Someone Dies?

Trustworthy

November 1, 2023

|

who does the obituary when someone dies

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

The pain of losing a loved one leaves many scrambling and asking questions on what to do next. One of the common questions people ask is, who does the obituary when someone dies?

The responsibility of whoever writes the obituary does not always fall onto family members and can be flexible. There are specific factors to help you narrow your decision on who should write it.

Key Takeaways

  • The obituary is often written by people close to the deceased person, such as family or friends, though exceptions exist.


  • Key considerations and qualifications like closeness, knowledge, emotional strength, availability, and writing skills should guide the choice of who writes the obituary. 


  • Writing an obituary isn't always a task for just one person. It's common for several people to write an obituary.

What is an Obituary?

The primary purpose of an obituary is to make a formal announcement of one's passing. However, it’s also meant to be a celebration of that person's time on earth.

Obituaries are written in the form of an editorial article. Typically, they contain biographical information such as date of birth, where he/she was raised, marriage(s) and life accomplishments.

Once the obituary is written, it can be sent to a news publication. Most news outlets will publish the obituary either by newspaper or online. Generally, it’s up to the family to decide where and how it is published.

Who Does the Obituary When Someone Dies?

who does the obituary when someone dies

There is no specific rule on writing the obituary of the deceased person. Here are some common examples of who generally writes the obituary of a deceased person.

Family

The most common person to write the obituary is a close relative of the deceased person. It’s worth noting the responsibility should only fall on the person who wants to write it voluntarily.

It’s beneficial to have someone close to the deceased person write it because it reduces the need to do thorough research. It also helps some people through their grieving process, as it allows them to process their thoughts into a beautiful piece of writing.

However, it can be emotionally taxing on the person writing it, so it might be tough on a close family member. It’s difficult to remind themselves the person is no longer with them.

Obituaries are typically written within a week after the person's death. Someone who is grieving might have trouble getting it done in a timely manner.

Friends

If writing an obituary is too emotionally triggering for a family member, then passing the opportunity to a friend is an option. A good friend may also know important details and events to include.

Having a close friend write the obituary will make that person feel honored for having the opportunity to write on the family's behalf.

The drawback of having a friend do it is they might miss some important details about that person’s life. Similar to family, they also may not feel comfortable writing it if they’re feeling too emotional.

The Funeral Home

The funeral home will most likely offer to write the obituary for you. This can be helpful if neither friends nor family feel comfortable writing it.

Since the funeral staff won’t have firsthand information, you will be required to provide details of the deceased person’s life. The staff may ask to interview close friends and family of the person to get the information required to write it.

Funeral Director, Jessica Watts, explains:

“In most cases, the family begins the obituary process and we assist with any editing. However, if the family is unable or unsure on how to begin, then we will write the obituary and submit it to the newspaper of their choice.”

The good thing about having the funeral home write the obituary is the quality will be top notch. However, it can be an expensive service, ranging between $200-$500 alone, depending on the funeral home.

Professional Obituary Writers

Some people make a living writing quality obituaries for their clients. Many are independent contractors or businesses that set their own rates. Some contractors even have their own website dedicated solely to obituaries.

Prices with freelance contractors can differ drastically. Keep in mind you will also have to provide details and photos for the writer, so planning ahead and knowing what you want from it is still required.

The drawback of this method is it can be hard to find a writer under a tight deadline. Also, your experience with the writer may vary. If you go with someone who is on the cheaper end, you should expect to get what you paid for.

How to Decide Who Writes the Obituary When Someone Dies

how to decide who writes the obituary

Writing an obituary not only takes passion but also certain skills and qualifications. The ideal person to write the obituary should have the following factors:

Close Connection

While it is not mandatory, having a close connection with the person helps tremendously when writing a biography on the person. It will also inspire better writing with a strong emotional appeal.

A person who has a close connection with the deceased person knows the most about them. While working under a deadline, it can be useful not to have to spend as much time doing research on the deceased person.

Knowledge of the Deceased

Writing an obituary requires a certain level of knowledge about the deceased person. This includes knowing their life story, achievements and significant events in their life.

If someone has a deep understanding of the deceased person’s life, it’s easier for them to accurately and vividly capture their personality and impact on others through their writing.

Emotional Strength

Emotional resilience should also be considered when deciding who writes an obituary. The person should be emotionally ready to delve into the details of their loved one's life while dealing with grief and loss.

Writing is freeing for some people because it helps them process emotions in a healthy way, but there’s a risk of intensifying feelings if not handled properly, especially soon after death.

Availability

Obituaries can be time-consuming. Due to the unpredictable nature of one’s passing, it could happen at a time when it’s not conventional for most people to be able to focus on it.

The length of an obituary is generally short. A typical obituary is around 200 words. However, some news outlets may accept obituaries that are 450+ words long. While the length is short, the time spent thinking about what to include in it can be overwhelming to loved ones.

In most cases, families have to deal with the legality of the loved one passing. That means getting a death certificate, managing their legal documents and more. It can be daunting, and making time to do everything can be an extreme challenge.

This is where Trustworthy can help you. We specialize in organizing and keeping your family’s documents safe for you.  

Writing Skills

Not everyone is equipped with good writing skills. Writing an obituary does not require an expert writer. However, being able to write well enough to capture the essence of the person is a challenge to many people. In situations like this, hiring a professional writer should be seriously considered.

Writing an obituary can add a lot of pressure. Naturally, you want it to be very well written, as it will be published and opened to criticism to those who read it. Narrowing down on the perfect words and sentences can be a challenge if the person is not experienced with writing in general.

Can Multiple People Write an Obituary?

During times of grief, it may be too hard to have one person within the family write the obituary, which is why collaboration among others is encouraged.

Having multiple people work on the obituary can help get it done on a tight deadline. An obituary requires a lot of work gathering the information, creating an outline, and finding and editing it.

Dividing the work among other friends or family helps make the process much easier. It can also be a bonding experience to have everyone come together to work on a common goal to honor the person they loved.

With that said, having multiple people work on the obituary has the potential to create problems. Creative differences can lead to some clashing and arguing about what should be included. Some may want to include a story or memorable moment in one place, while another person might say no due to limited wordcount. 

The important thing to remember is that the obituary is made to honor the person who is now gone. The focus should be on the deceased person and not on the person or people who are writing the obituary.

Is It OK to Write Your Own Obituary?

is it ok to write your own obituary

While it is uncommon, some people take the liberty of writing their own obituary, and there is nothing wrong with that.

A self-written obituary is often referred to as an auto-obituary. This term applies when a person chooses to write their own obituary, typically knowing they are nearing the end of life. By doing this, they can share important milestones and memories that matter most from their perspective while reducing the burden on loved ones.

One reason for this is out of kindness. A soon-to-be deceased person wants their family to worry less about managing fewer things after their death. Having the obituary already written can help reduce the stress.

As mentioned, writing an obituary takes time and can be sobering. If someone has limited time on earth, they may want to spend the remaining time they have left in peace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long after death do you write an obituary?

Typically, the obituary should be published within a week following somebody's death. If the obituary is to include funeral details, then it needs to be at least three days prior to the funeral.

What should be avoided in an obituary?

An obituary is intended to honor their life rather than dwelling on aspects that might cause discomfort among readers. It usually does not contain embarrassing details or specific details about the person's death. 

Rather, it should focus on positive elements like personal biography, achievements during their lifetime and good memories of them.

How much does it cost to publish an obituary?

The cost to publish an obituary is commonly in the range of $200-$500. Pricing can fluctuate, and it often depends on variables such as length, number of photographs included, or whether you opt for traditional print or an online publication.

What is the best day to publish an obituary?

Sunday tends to be most popular when individuals select a publication date for their loved ones' obituaries. However, an obituary can be published on any day of the week.

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Helping elderly parents - the complete guide
Helping elderly parents - the complete guide

May 2, 2023

May 2, 2023

Helping Elderly Parents: The Complete Guide

Helping Elderly Parents: The Complete Guide

Family seated on sofa having a discussion
Family seated on sofa having a discussion
Family seated on sofa having a discussion
Family seated on sofa having a discussion

May 1, 2023

May 1, 2023

Trustworthy guide: How to organize your digital information

Trustworthy guide: How to organize your digital information

Person signing a document
Person signing a document
Person signing a document
Person signing a document

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Can My Husband Make a Will Without My Knowledge?

Can My Husband Make a Will Without My Knowledge?

Son on father's shoulders
Son on father's shoulders
Son on father's shoulders
Son on father's shoulders

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

What is a Last Will and Testament (also known as a Will)?

What is a Last Will and Testament (also known as a Will)?

A couple looking at a document with a calculator
A couple looking at a document with a calculator
A couple looking at a document with a calculator
A couple looking at a document with a calculator

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Can A Wife Sell Deceased Husband's Property (6 Rules)

Can A Wife Sell Deceased Husband's Property (6 Rules)

Paper shredding
Paper shredding
Paper shredding
Paper shredding

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Should I Shred Documents Of A Deceased Person? (5 Tips)

Should I Shred Documents Of A Deceased Person? (5 Tips)

Can I Change My Power of Attorney Without A Lawyer?
Can I Change My Power of Attorney Without A Lawyer?
Can I Change My Power of Attorney Without A Lawyer?
Can I Change My Power of Attorney Without A Lawyer?

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Can I Change My Power of Attorney Without A Lawyer?

Can I Change My Power of Attorney Without A Lawyer?

Can You Have Two Power of Attorneys? (A Lawyer Answers)
Can You Have Two Power of Attorneys? (A Lawyer Answers)
Can You Have Two Power of Attorneys? (A Lawyer Answers)
Can You Have Two Power of Attorneys? (A Lawyer Answers)

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Can You Have Two Power of Attorneys? (A Lawyer Answers)

Can You Have Two Power of Attorneys? (A Lawyer Answers)

Do Attorneys Keep Copies Of a Will? (4 Things To Know)
Do Attorneys Keep Copies Of a Will? (4 Things To Know)
Do Attorneys Keep Copies Of a Will? (4 Things To Know)
Do Attorneys Keep Copies Of a Will? (4 Things To Know)

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Do Attorneys Keep Copies Of a Will? (4 Things To Know)

Do Attorneys Keep Copies Of a Will? (4 Things To Know)

Estate Planning for a Special Needs Child (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning for a Special Needs Child (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning for a Special Needs Child (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning for a Special Needs Child (Complete Guide)

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Estate Planning for a Special Needs Child (Complete Guide)

Estate Planning for a Special Needs Child (Complete Guide)

Estate Planning For Childless Couples (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning For Childless Couples (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning For Childless Couples (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning For Childless Couples (Complete Guide)

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Estate Planning For Childless Couples (Complete Guide)

Estate Planning For Childless Couples (Complete Guide)

Estate Planning For Elderly Parents
Estate Planning For Elderly Parents
Estate Planning For Elderly Parents
Estate Planning For Elderly Parents

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Estate Planning For Elderly Parents (Complete Guide)

Estate Planning For Elderly Parents (Complete Guide)

Woman talking with an advisor in a house
Woman talking with an advisor in a house
Woman talking with an advisor in a house
Woman talking with an advisor in a house

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Estate Planning For High Net Worth & Large Estates

Estate Planning For High Net Worth & Large Estates

Estate Planning For Irresponsible Children (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning For Irresponsible Children (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning For Irresponsible Children (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning For Irresponsible Children (Complete Guide)

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Estate Planning For Irresponsible Children (Complete Guide)

Estate Planning For Irresponsible Children (Complete Guide)

How To Get Power of Attorney For Parent With Dementia?
How To Get Power of Attorney For Parent With Dementia?
How To Get Power of Attorney For Parent With Dementia?
How To Get Power of Attorney For Parent With Dementia?

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

How To Get Power of Attorney For Parent With Dementia?

How To Get Power of Attorney For Parent With Dementia?

I Lost My Power of Attorney Papers, Now What?
I Lost My Power of Attorney Papers, Now What?
I Lost My Power of Attorney Papers, Now What?
I Lost My Power of Attorney Papers, Now What?

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

I Lost My Power of Attorney Papers, Now What?

I Lost My Power of Attorney Papers, Now What?

White house
White house
White house
White house

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Is It Better To Sell or Rent An Inherited House? (Pros & Cons)

Is It Better To Sell or Rent An Inherited House? (Pros & Cons)

Is It Wrong To Move Away From Elderly Parents? My Advice
Is It Wrong To Move Away From Elderly Parents? My Advice
Is It Wrong To Move Away From Elderly Parents? My Advice
Is It Wrong To Move Away From Elderly Parents? My Advice

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Is It Wrong To Move Away From Elderly Parents? My Advice

Is It Wrong To Move Away From Elderly Parents? My Advice

Moving An Elderly Parent Into Your Home: What To Know
Moving An Elderly Parent Into Your Home: What To Know
Moving An Elderly Parent Into Your Home: What To Know
Moving An Elderly Parent Into Your Home: What To Know

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Moving An Elderly Parent Into Your Home: What To Know

Moving An Elderly Parent Into Your Home: What To Know

Moving An Elderly Parent to Another State: What To Know
Moving An Elderly Parent to Another State: What To Know
Moving An Elderly Parent to Another State: What To Know
Moving An Elderly Parent to Another State: What To Know

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

Moving An Elderly Parent to Another State: What To Know

Moving An Elderly Parent to Another State: What To Know

What If Witnesses To A Will Cannot Be Found? A Lawyer Answers
What If Witnesses To A Will Cannot Be Found? A Lawyer Answers
What If Witnesses To A Will Cannot Be Found? A Lawyer Answers
What If Witnesses To A Will Cannot Be Found? A Lawyer Answers

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

What If Witnesses To A Will Cannot Be Found? A Lawyer Answers

What If Witnesses To A Will Cannot Be Found? A Lawyer Answers

A couple reviewing documents and signing them
A couple reviewing documents and signing them
A couple reviewing documents and signing them
A couple reviewing documents and signing them

Apr 15, 2023

Apr 15, 2023

What To Bring To Estate Planning Meeting (Checklist)

What To Bring To Estate Planning Meeting (Ch