Help With Writing Obituaries

Funeral plans after the death of a loved one are never easy, and at McDougal Funeral Homes, we’re here to make it easier for you. Our funeral planning services will have you prepared to face these challenges while leaving you plenty of time for family, grieving and the things that truly matter in these moments.

One of the toughest parts of this process for many people is collaborating to write a fitting obituary for the departed. Balancing the desire to give a loved one an appropriate send-off with completely understandable grief is tough for some. Here are a few simple, discreet tips for writing an obituary that both cherishes a loved one and does the proper service to their memory.


The most important part of any obituary is accuracy and completeness, and you’d be surprised how often there are critical errors here. Basic birth and death dates and family information is vital – if you’re unsure of any details here, collaborate with family to get accurate information. Especially if you’re still in moments of active grief as the obituary is being written, coming back to it after a period away can be helpful for spotting any errors you may have overlooked.

The Right Focus

The focus of the obituary should be on the departed, not on the author, even in an indirect way. Don’t refer to the deceased as “Mom” or “Dad” – the obituary isn’t only for direct family members, it’s for everyone who knew them. Use the third person to describe the departed appropriately and compassionately.

Revise and Edit

As we noted above, coming back to the obituary after a day or a longer period of hours can be a good way to get fresh eyes on it and eliminate any errors. Just like any piece of writing, a few thorough revisions, perhaps by other family members with their own perspective, could be a great help for honoring the deceased with a proper message.

Identity Theft

There is one unfortunate bit of logistical process you have to keep in mind here: Identity theft. It’s a despicable practice, but some con artists out there look to steal identities after someone has passed away.

To ensure there are no issues with the estate or will-related wishes of the departed, make sure to notify banks and credit unions of the death. With the obituary, don’t print home addresses or any other major personal information, especially not in the direct days after the death – some families prepare a shorter obituary for this period, and then a longer one with more detail for family that’s posted once these kinds of logistics have been taken care of.

For more information on funeral planning, or to learn more about any of our funeral home services, speak to the experienced professionals at McDougal Funeral Homes today.

Posted by on Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 @ 4:40PM
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