How to Place an Obituary
The 5 steps to take to memorialize the death of a loved one
Placing an obituary: steps 1 and 2
The traditional media outlet for publishing an obituary is a newspaper, though there are a growing number of specialized obituary and memorial tribute websites.
Step 1: What you need to know before you start
Newspapers almost always charge for publishing obituaries, based on length, and the costs vary considerably from paper to paper.
Newspapers usually provide style and formatting guidelines. If you haven't written your obituary yet, it's helpful to know these in advance, plus other suggestions for writing an obituary.
Newspapers almost always edit obituaries for spelling, grammar, and style.
Funeral homes will write and place obituaries for a fee.
Some newspapers may want to see a death certificate or confirm details with a funeral home before placing an obituary.
There are differences between a death notification, a standard obituary, and a news or feature obituary. What follows is information that applies to a standard obituary.
Step 2: How to choose where to place the obituary
- Newspapers. You can publish the obituary in as many newspapers as you choose. Many people publish in newspapers where their loved one spent any significant amount of time (hometown, a regular vacation location, place of birth) to inform people in each location of the death. Find newspapers on the Internet, searching with the name of the paper. Most have online instructions for placing an obituary, or you can do it over the phone -- or even in person.
- Online newspaper sites.The world of online obituaries can be confusing because options vary from publication to publication. Many newspapers automatically print obituaries online if you pay for placement in the print edition. Some may charge extra for the online version. Larger papers may only publish an obituary online, not in print. In addition, many newspapers have affiliations with specialized, privately run obituary websites. You'll need to clarify your options with the publications you choose.
Obituary websites. A growing number of commercial websites specialize in obituaries and death tributes. Most offer a variety of services, such as photo tributes and online guest books. They're easy to find with a search using the terms obituaries or memorial tributes.