Guide: Filing a Death Notice or Obituary

Overview: Death Notices and Obituaries

A death notice is a paid notice (like a classified advertisement) that families can write and submit to the newspapers and publications of their choosing. Death notices announce that the person has died, and offer information on funeral services, where donations can be made in the name of the deceased, and minor biographical information. Obituaries are editorial articles written by the newspaper's staff. The terms "death notice" and "obituary" are often used interchangeably.

What You Need to Know

Traditionally, death notices are printed in local newspapers, national newspapers, and various other places that may write about the death, such as local religious or volunteer organizations. Most newspapers charge a fee for printing obituaries, though smaller local papers may not. Some papers will charge by word count, while others will charge by number of lines printed or number of inches printed. Newspapers may also offer the option of publishing online-only obituaries that will not run in the printed paper but will be published on the newspaper’s website. If you are working with a funeral home, they may offer to write the obituary and have it published for you.

Resources

Legacy.com

Working with more than 800 U.S. newspapers, Legacy.com will help you identify the newspapers you want to publish the obituary in, offer instructions for how to submit an obituary to the newspaper of your choice, and link to the obituary section of that newspaper. Selecting the state in which the newspaper is published will take you to a list of all the newspapers in that state, and from there you can choose the newspaper you’d like the obituary to be published in.

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