Tips on Writing an Obituary

February 17th, 2023
Tips on Writing an Obituary

Writing an obituary does not have to be difficult. Many funeral companies are willing to help you to write it, and often a short one is included in the cost of the services. But if you want to write your own, we are going to give you some tips below to help.


Obituaries in our culture usually follow a specific format. You give the name of the deceased, when that person died, and then list the closest relatives of that person who are still alive. Then depending on how long you want the obituary to be, you may want to talk about where the deceased was from, what he/she did for work or for hobbies, and then at the end you can ask for a donation to a specific charity. If you are having a big funeral, that, also, is listed at the end so people can attend.

In newspapers, the length of the obituary will determine the cost. In addition, bigger newspapers will charge more than smaller local ones. If the deceased is sufficiently famous, the newspaper may elect to write a big article about the person at no cost to you, and you can dispense with the traditional obituary altogether.

Spelling and Fact-Checking

Please be sure to spell names correctly and have your facts straight. Spelling family members’ names incorrectly can cause problems down the line. Fact-check with other family members or friends to make sure you are stating truths.

Other Suggestions

Remember that you are writing something about the deceased, and the obituary should reflect that person and not the writer. For example, if your loved one was religious, a formal and reverent tone is more appropriate than a light-hearted one.

Other Formats

There are some people who write wild and crazy obituaries. And a simple Google search will give you plenty of examples. Some people write really funny obituaries telling funny stories. Some people use an obituary as a tool of revenge and speak ill of the dead. While we do not recommend these other formats, you are free to write the obituary any way that you want as long as the newspaper or publication medium accepts it and you are willing to pay for it. For grief-stricken individuals struggling to write an obituary, ask a professional writer friend for help, as most often that person would write it for free. 

Maple Ridge Funeral Chapel and Crematorium, based in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, provides has been providing compassionate funeral services on the Lower Mainland for over 60 years. We have deep roots in the community and take great pride in caring ethics and exemplary service. If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about funeral services, please call us at (604) 463-8121.