Understanding How Obituaries and Death Notices Work

Posted on September 30, 2020 by American Heritage under Grief & Healing
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When a loved one passes, you may find that you are suddenly bombarded with a list of things to do while fully absorbed in your grief. When deciding whether to publish an obituary or death notice, it is important to first understand the differences. In this article, we explain how obituaries and death notices work to help you make the most informed decision for your loved one.





Death Notices

As implied by the word “notice”, a death notice is simply an announcement of a person’s death with information on their funeral service. A short biography is usually included as well as where donations can be made in the name of the deceased person. Families can write and submit a death notice to newspapers and publications of their choice, usually in the deceased person’s hometown, community and/or place of worship. Before the dawn of telecommunication, death notices were the fastest way of announcing a person’s death to extended family and friends.


Obituaries are editorial articles and tend to be longer than death notices. Besides including all the elements of a death notice, obituaries offer more detailed biographies on the deceased person’s life. Instead of being written by families, obituaries are usually written by a reporter or editor from the publication. Today, there are also online obituary sites where you can run an obituary as an alternative or complement to the traditional newspaper obituary.

Publishing with A Newspaper

Now that you have decided whether you want to publish a death notice or an obituary, let us map out the factors involved when you approach your desired newspaper or publication yourself. Factors to consider include:

  • The length of the death notice or obituary. Newspapers usually charge by word count or number of printed lines.
  • How many days you want the notice or obituary to be published, as well as the days of the week it will be featured. It may cost slightly more if one of those days is a Sunday.
  • Whether to include a photograph. There may be certain restrictions to the size and whether it can be colored. Furthermore, some publications only accept digital photographs.

Publishing through A Funeral Service Provider

If you have engaged the services of a funeral home, their services may include writing and publishing death notices or obituaries on your behalf. Not only does this remove any stress or confusion on your part, it also makes budgeting easier. With the funeral home handling all the small bills that can accumulate, you only have to deal with one big bill. Additionally, some funeral homes provide their own online obituary sites where you can honor your loved ones.

A Funeral and Obituary to Honor Your Loved One

In the depths of grief, it can feel like it’s easier to take care of things as simply as possible. However, sometimes simply isn’t better. American Heritage Cemetery Funeral Home Crematory firmly believes that ceremony is all about honoring your loved one’s life, sharing memories and starting the healing process. Our services include online obituary websites as well as tribute videos to suit your needs.

If you need help writing and publishing an obituary for your loved one, contact us through our online form today. We walk you through the entire process to ensure the most stress-free experience so you can focus entirely on your loved one.