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What do I write in a funeral notice?

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Published 14/10/2021
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How to write a funeral notice

When it comes to writing a funeral notice or obituary, people often wonder where to start. We are often asked what to include, what the legal requirements are and if there are any ‘do’s and don’ts’ when writing a funeral notice.

The truth is there aren’t any rules or laws about the information you choose to write in a funeral notice, but given the nature of the notice and the circumstance people find themselves in when trying to find the words for a notice, it is helpful to have a rough guide to work from.

In today’s blog, I am going to offer some advice on what you need to consider when approaching a funeral notice, should you ever find yourself in the sad position of having to write one.

Funeral Notice or Obituary?

Legally there is no difference between a funeral notice and an obituary. These are just two possible names for the same thing. In some newspapers or online media platforms, an obituary is considered a longer piece on the person who has passed away and includes some of their history, lifelong achievements and perhaps even their likes, dislikes, hobbies and interests. A funeral notice tends to be a shorter announcement to let people know their loved one has passed away and will often include information on the funeral arrangements, in memory donations and include the contact details of the Funeral Director. More recently, funeral notices have tended to be a combination of the two styles and remember; there are no rules on this, so you can write as much or as little about their life as you wish.

Should a funeral notice appear in a newspaper or online?

Traditionally notices appeared in local or national newspapers throughout the UK and the world. Often these notices tended to be shorter as they were charged by the centimetre, making a shorter announcement a more budget friendly option. With the advancement of technology, notices began to also be published online.

At we were able to create our own platform for all of the funeral notices we have published in regional newspapers across the UK going back as far as 2008. The development of allowed us to offer free tributes, online donations, the uploading of photos and memories as well as the opportunity to light a virtual candle in memory, making the notices more meaningful and offering a safe place online to return back to whenever and wherever you wish.

Every notice we publish in a newspaper also appears online. This offers even more freedom to write as much, or as little, as you wish in a funeral notice as the traditional obituary meets the future funeral notice.

Is there a ‘best practice’ to writing a funeral notice?

Take a look at some heartwarming examples of notices by reading our ‘Most Read This Month’.

These show that whilst there does tend to be a pattern in what people write in their funeral notices, no two notices are the same.

Another thing to consider when planning a funeral notice is which photograph you would like to use. Photographs really help a notice to stand out both in print and online.

One more vital thing to consider is which charities your loved one wanted to raise money for in their memory. If you are struggling to make a choice, you can choose to request donations to a number of charities. Choosing to request donations in memory of a loved one is a great opportunity to honour their life and legacy.

The one thing to remember when writing a funeral notice is...

Do not panic as there is no right or wrong way to write a funeral notice.

If you are struggling to find the words, or need any help or support, we have a team of people available to support you. Similarly, you can ask your Funeral Director to write the notice for you. Like us, they do this every day for people from all walks of life.

If you are struggling in grief as you read this now, please visit the Good Grief Trust website who list a number of national and local charities available to offer you help and support.

Thank you for reading.
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