Making a Death Announcement: Dos and Don’ts

Making a death announcement can be challenging when dealing with the loss of a loved one, but the sooner you make an announcement the better. A death announcement informs family and friends that a loved one has passed on, so by making that announcement sooner you’re allowing everyone more time to come together in support of one another through the grieving period.

What is a Death Announcement?

A death announcement refers to a brief and printed (often paid for) statement informing others about the loss of a loved one. This announcement can be placed in a national or local newspaper, or on social media.

Your announcement should include the following information:

  1. The deceased’s full name.
  2. The date and place of death.
  3. The date and place of birth.
  4. Funeral information.
  5. Donation information, if needed.

You’ll want to include any details on dates and locations regarding wake, viewing, funeral, burial, and/or memorial services that you have planned. It’s also fine to announce this information at a later date if you need more time for planning.

How much does an obituary cost?

If you’d like to submit a death notice or obituary to a national or local newspaper, you can expect to pay around $200. Costs can vary depending on the publication, and newspapers will charge per word.

To cut your cost down, make sure you keep the death notice brief and straightforward by only highlighting significant events. You only need a short paragraph of 4 or 5 sentences.

Common Phrases for Death Announcements

You may not have the right words when it comes to notifying others that a loved one has passed on. Here are some simple and common phrases you can use in your notice:

  • Died
  • Passed on
  • Departed
  • Passed away
  • Resting in peace
  • Passed unexpectedly

You may use any of these phrases via a text message, phone call, or social media posting when informing others of the death of your loved one.

How do you post a Death Announcement?

There are no legal requirements to announcing a death. You can announce the death of your loved ones through an obituary or social media post.

A Death Notice or Obituary

It would be best to discuss with your funeral director how you would like the obituary to look based on a photo from a newspaper of your choice. Before you submit your death announcement, you need to proofread it and make sure there aren’t any errors since the newspaper will not re-run or reimburse you in the event that there is a typo. Note that an announcement with a photo attachment usually will incur extra charges.

A Death Announcement on Social Media

Most of the time, major life events often find their way to social media. This brings controversy on whether it’s appropriate to announce your loved one’s death on a platform such as Facebook.

Well, there is nothing wrong with this. Facebook has become universal to the point there’s no concern about sharing vital information on social media. However, you don’t want the deceased’s closest family members and friends finding out about his or her death through social media. While Facebook is a primary outlet for all sensitive information, including death events, you should only utilize it after notifying close family and friends over the phone, or through text if you’re unable to speak.

Sample Template for Social Media

[FIRST AND LAST NAME] passed away on [DATE], in [CITY], [STATE]. There will be a memorial service at their home, followed by a funeral service at [LOCATION] ON [DATE] AT [TIME].

Death Announcement for a Colleague

Sharing sad news requires skill and tact. If a colleague has passed away, consider the tone to use while addressing the situation. You can ask someone working closely with you to proofread your email before sending it. Make sure to set the standard for empathy and compassion. You can use subject lines, such as:

  • It is with great sadness…
  • Sad news…

Sample Template for Email

To: All employees

With great sadness, we announce the sudden passing of our colleague [FIRST AND LAST NAME] on [DATE]. [FIRST NAME] had been a great co-worker since their first day in our organization and will be missed dearly. Please remember their family through these challenging moments.

If you would like to attend [FIRST NAME]’s funeral ceremony on [DATE], kindly talk to your immediate supervisor regarding the time off. If you feel overwhelmed by our dear colleague’s death, you can seek the help of a grief counselor who will be available onsite on [DATE].