Death Notices

Death Notices

Traditionally, a death notice is placed in a local newspaper by the family of the deceased to announce the death to the community and share details of the funeral or memorial service.

A death notice can also be used by an estate administrator in circumstances where the contact details or whereabouts of beneficiaries or next of kin are unknown, or to inform any creditors of the deceased so that they may become aware of the death and can claim debts.

A death notice is different to a eulogy or an obituary.

How to write a death notice

A death notice is a brief statement intended to announce a person’s death. It should explain in a few sentences the details of the death and include information about the funeral or memorial service. If you are using a funeral home they will be able to offer you advice on composing a death notice if you wish, or write one for you.

If you choose to compose this yourself, below is an outline of the information you can choose to include:

  • Full name. You can include nicknames or abbreviated names in brackets. If the deceased person had a rank, title or other honour, you can include these too.
  • Date and location of where the death happened as well as details of how they died e.g. ‘peacefully’, ‘surrounded by her family’, ‘in her sleep’, ‘tragically taken from us’, ‘after a sudden illness’, ‘after a brave struggle’, ‘following an accident’.
  • The age of the deceased person at the time of their death e.g. ‘at 90 years of age’, ‘aged 90’.
  • You can choose whether you would like to mention the family of the deceased person e.g. ‘Wife of the late…’ ‘Survived by her loving daughter…’
  • Sometimes descriptive words are used to explain who the deceased person was to their family members. e.g. ‘Dearly loved mother, wife and sister’, ‘Loved by all that knew him’.
  • Details of the service. If the service is public, include the date, time and address of where it is being held. If it is a private service, you could include ‘In accordance with the family’s wishes a private service will be held…’
  • If the deceased person was taken care of by a nurse, a care home, hospital or charity prior to their death you may decide you wish to include a line of thanks in the notice. E.g. ‘We would like to thank the doctors and nurses at…. for their special attention and care.’
  • Information about flowers and donations. Some people also choose to include a line giving instructions for where people should send flowers, messages and cards e.g. “Flowers and cards can be sent to…. ’. You may prefer for well-wishers to give donations to a charity that meant something to your loved one rather than send flowers. This is where you can express those details e.g. ‘In lieu of flowers, donations to….would be appreciated.’

How to place a death notice

Many print newspapers, online publications and obituary websites offer a death notice service. You can expect to pay a listing fee to place a death notice, the cost will vary depending on the publication and the type of listing you choose. For example: size, with or without an image and the duration the notice will be in print.

How to submit your notice will depend on the publication. Some publications will request that the notice be submitted by the funeral home so that they can verify the details of the deceased person. Once you have found a publication offering obituary or death notice services, it is a good idea to send them an email enquiring about their processes and costs. If you are using a funeral director or funeral home then you can also ask them to help you with the process.

Do I have to place a death notice?

Although it is a common practice to place a death notice in a publication when someone dies, it is not a legal requirement.

Every circumstance and family are different, and it is entirely up to the family of the deceased as to whether they feel like this is something they want to do or not.

If you are using a funeral home they will be able to offer you advice on composing a death notice, or write one for you.