How, where and when to announce a death

 

Letting people know about the death of a loved one is never easy. Deciding what to say, who to notify and in what order, whilst you are also in the midst of grief, can be overwhelming. You may wish to enlist the help of family and friends.

There are a number of different ways to pass on the sad news. We hope the following information will help you with this difficult task.

Those closest to the person who has died will have been informed immediately after the death, usually face-to-face or by phone. There are a number of different ways to let their wider circle of friends, colleagues and acquaintances know. The main thing is to make sure that all of the key family and friends are made aware before an announcement is made, or any messages are posted on social media.

A TRADITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF DEATH

An announcement of death is often published by families in local or national newspapers. These can vary in length, but they tend to be kept quite short and to the point.

The number of words and the layout or format will depend on where it is being placed, and possibly your budget. An announcement in a newspaper may have a different layout and fewer words than one on social media. Most newspapers charge per word or line and the cost can vary depending on the number of days the announcement is placed, and possibly the day of the week.

Here are some details you may wish to include:

    • the deceased's full name
    • the date (and possibly location) of their death
    • their age or date of birth
    • how they died, maybe after a short illness
    • brief information about their family and loved ones
    • how much they were loved and will be missed 
    • details of the funeral service (date, time, location)
    • information about the post-funeral gathering (if there is one)
    • information about the memorial service (if there is one)
    • if flowers are welcome, or if charitable donations would be preferred

AN OBITUARY

Some people choose to publish an obituary in either a newspaper or magazine. These were traditionally written by journalists about chosen individuals and posted for free. These days, however, most publications accept paid-for obituaries.

With the rise of the internet, there are now a number of on-line obituary websites that are also available. These often provide the opportunity to include more detail and a greater number of photographs (see Digital Memorials & Digital Legacy).

If you would like further information, please visit Writing an Obituary

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media has certainly made it quicker and easier to inform a larger number of people, in a shorter amount of time, about the death of a loved one. It can also provide a space for people to come together to grieve, share memories and comfort the deceased's family and each other.

Whether social media is an appropriate avenue will depend on a number of factors, including the age of the deceased (a grand-parent may have less friends actively using social media than a younger person). Depending on the circumstances, a short notice on Facebook or Twitter may be an efficient way to inform people and to let them know the date, time and location of the funeral or memorial service.

The main thing is to proceed carefully and sensitively, and to make sure that close family and friends are informed beforehand.

WHITEBALLOON NOTIFICATION CARDS

To help with planning the funeral and to get some idea of numbers for seating and catering purposes, our free Notification cards can be emailed to family and friends. Replies can be recorded on the whiteballoon Attendees form, helping you to keep track of who may be coming, together with any special requirements.

 

The content, size and format of an announcement of death will depend on a number of factors, including where it is being published, and possibly your budget. There are no set rules, just do what you feel is right for you.

Here is an example of a short announcement:

 

George Samuel Elliot Smith

George died peacefully at home on 20th June 2019, aged 86, following a short illness.

He was the dearly beloved husband of Sarah and loving father of Tom and Annie. He was also the much-loved grandfather of Jamie and Alice. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

His funeral service will take place on the 29th June 2019 at St Luke’s Church, London SW3 0BL at 10.30am, followed by the committal. Family and friends are welcome.

A reception will be held afterwards at the Memorial Club, Church Road SW3 0BN. No flowers please. Charitable donations, if desired, can be made to Macmillan Cancer Support.