Informing friends and relatives

Informing people that someone close to you has died is an incredibly painful task to undertake, especially when you’re in a state of shock and your grief is raw.

But, the process of making the necessary death announcements can be simplified considerably if you enlist the help of a friend or relative of the deceased. This person could assist you with compiling a list of all the individuals who need to informed, urgently; they could even make most of the phone calls or emails for you.

Your funeral director will also guide you through the entire process of placing the formal death announcements in the local or national newspapers.

Guide to composing death notices & announcements

The tone, style and content may vary; however, it is important that any death announcement should include certain key pieces of information, namely:

full name (plus any affectionate names by which the deceased was more commonly known)

date of death

place where (and very briefly, in what circumstances, e.g. peacefully, suddenly, etc) the person died date and place of birth

the names of the next of kin

a brief reference to the deceased’s personal achievements, e.g. well known person in the community, hobbies, interests, employment, education, etc.;

details of the funeral arrangements (time and place); and whether flowers are ‘family only’ or donations to a particular charity are preferred in lieu

How to inform relatives, friends & colleagues abroad

In today’s increasingly global society, it is not uncommon for the deceased person’s relatives, friends and colleagues to be located in various countries around the world.

As a result, announcing someone’s death online makes sense and is fast becoming the norm, alongside the more traditional format for placing death notices and announcements in the local paper.

Guide to announcing a death online

A verbatim copy of the traditional obituary published in the newspaper can also be posted online, for example, on a social networking website, blog or forum that the deceased was known to favour.

Alternatively, a number of official death-care services’ websites exist where you can post a befitting online memorial tribute. These websites are often free and have friendly support staff who will guide you through the process.

Email is another option and a perfectly acceptable means of informing relatives, friends and colleagues, especially if they live at a distance and would not otherwise be aware of the person’s death. This method of communication is certainly appropriate where timescale cannot rely on sending written announcement letters by post.

Again, an exact copy of the announcement that one might send in writing can be used to compose the email.

Useful resource for online death notices & announcements

Lasting Post; website:; an online death announcement service, where personal obituaries, as well as formal death notices, can be posted. 

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