Do I Have to Write an Obituary?

Posted by: Erin Ward in Funeral Planning Resources, Obituaries | July 8, 2021

When someone close to you dies and the planning of their funeral falls to you, there are many decisions to make. With this enormous responsibility comes the tendency to see every decision as paramount to paying proper respect. Many of these tasks can be delegated, delayed, or quickly handled, but there are some big ones that will require your full attention. 

Writing an obituary can represent one of the largest challenges for grieving families. Lack of writing confidence is a leading obstacle to publishing a loved one's life story. It can seem like a gargantuan task just to recall times with the person when grief is so fresh. Is the obituary a task that can be discarded or delegated during this emotionally tumultuous time? 

What Does the Law Say?

There is no legal obligation to publish an obituary in a newspaper in the United States or Canada. But just because it's not illegal, doesn't mean it's okay to skip the sharing of a life story. 

Delegating the Obituary Writing

Delegating is the act of assigning tasks to others in order to more efficiently manage the completion of a larger project. When planning a funeral, there are many tasks you can delegate to a qualified funeral director, close family members, or trusted friends. 

While the obituary writing can and should be delegated to the most proficient writer in the family (or a professional writer, if necessary), the bulk of the obituary work has to be done by those who were closest to the deceased person. The biographical information such as dates, names of predecessors, and survivors, as well as the places the deceased lived and milestone moments, are factual details that need to be gathered by those who knew them best. 

Gathering this information makes up the bulk of the physical, mental, and emotional work. Even if the final obituary is written by someone else, there are aspects of the job that must be done by trusted loved ones. 

Social Expectations

An obituary is a sudden and surprising task for those who are new to loss. In fact, many people will never have to write one at all. And when the job falls to you, there is often pressure from family or others to publish a moving death notice.

In this sense, you might have to write an obituary. However, the process of gathering information, crafting the structure, and writing about your loved one can be particularly cathartic when you're grieving. Creating a meaningful final tribute can help your family acknowledge the loss and find comfort paying proper respects.  

The Gift of Remembrance

Your obituary will be the way your life is remembered by future generations. Give your loved ones the gift of a stirring final tribute. 




April 12, 2021

💞Beloved Bro and best friend of my son, Micheal Witney. I have known you almost since Mikey was
Born in 1979. You were so kind and forgiving to those unable to be there with you. But I know Micheal will grieve your lose. Hang tight big bro and we all we see u soon on the better side of eternity.💗



April 11, 2021


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