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Everything You Need to Know About Posting an Obituary in 2021

Everything you need to know about posting an obituary

You usually find out about the death of a person in your locality through obituaries. Obituaries are significant to the deceased’s friends and family because they carry out the painful task of spreading the word about the incident and are often also used as a keepsake that carries emotional value to the deceased’s loved ones.

Obituaries are an accessible public record of the deaths in an area for anyone who might need them and provide details about the funeral services, the burial, memorial donations if any, etc. It can be a daunting task to post an obituary, and if you are confused about the process, this article will help you get a clear idea.

When you think about obituaries, local newspapers are the first thing that comes to mind because obituaries are traditionally associated with local newspapers. Apart from local newspapers, national newspapers and volunteer organizations also publish obituaries. Obituaries are also posted on the websites of newspapers these days.

If you want to know how to post an obituary online, when to publish an obituary, how much it will cost, and other such questions, then this article is for you.

How much do Obituaries Cost?

How much do Obituaries Cost
How much do Obituaries Cost?

One of the first things to consider before posting an obituary is the price. The cost of publishing an obituary depends on where you intend to post it, as it varies from publication to publication. The cost of obituaries in newspapers differs from publishing an online obituary, and it also differs from platform to platform.

How do I Find an Obituary for Free?

One can post obituaries for free as some local newspapers, funeral homes, and mortuaries offer services where you can post an obituary online, for free.

Deciding on the Platform

The place where one publishes the obituary is vital as it decides the reach and the obituary’s cost. The number of people who see the obituary differs from platform to platform. Some platforms where obituaries are published are funeral home websites, obituary websites, local newspapers, national newspapers, community websites, religious publications, church websites, industry publications, social media, etc.

What to Include when Placing an Obituary?

What to Include when Placing an Obituary
What to Include when Placing an Obituary?

Obituaries include the announcement of the death and some necessary biographical details about the deceased. It also provides information about the funeral or memorial services and about where donations, if any, can be made.

Information to be included in an obituary:

  • Name of the deceased. The full name, including first, middle and last, are given in the obituary. Popular nicknames and pet names, if any, are also usually included in obituaries.
  • Families can include important dates and locations like that of birth, marriage, and death.
  • Name of spouse or partner and children.
  • Families can mention other family members’ names like parents, siblings, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, etc.
  • Names of late family members.
  • Families can incorporate the history of occupation with the places of employment or business.
  • One can mention schools and other educational institutions attended.
  • Any awards or accolades received are also included.
  • One can mention membership in any community or religious organizations.
  • Families can mention the funeral or memorial services’ details and where mourners can send flowers or donations.

The information included in the obituary is subject to verification at the publication you choose; therefore, it is crucial to provide correct information. Families must provide either the death certificate or the number or the mortuary or funeral home at the publication.

Obituaries are usually submitted at least three days before the funeral. The cost (if any) is determined by how many words or lines it contains and whether it contains photographs.

The Pros and Cons of Choosing Online Obituaries or Printed Obituaries

The Pros and Cons of Choosing Online Obituaries or Printed Obituaries
The Pros and Cons While Choosing Online Obituaries or Printed Obituaries

The dilemma of whether to choose an online or printed obituary is often perplexing as both offer advantages as well as disadvantages. The decision often becomes very objective as priorities differ from person to person. Given below are the pros and cons of online and printed platforms so that you can compare and come to a conclusive decision based on your needs.

Advantages of Printed Obituaries Over Online Ones

Printed obituaries are the traditional form of obituaries and are often of sentimental value to the deceased’s loved ones. Rather than a notice, loved ones often save them as a keepsake and relics of the departed.

Printed obituaries in newspapers often reach more people, especially of the older generation, who follow them. They are more effective than online platforms that the older generation may not be familiar with or rarely use.

Online obituaries often get lost in the timeline as more and more updates keep coming while printed ones do not get buried as fast as online ones. Insensitive online trolls often hijack obituaries, causing great emotional pain to the deceased’s loved ones, whereas printed ones do not carry that risk.

The common question that many ask is how much does it cost to place an obituary in the newspaper? The answer is, it depends on the publication you choose, the length of the obituary, and the design.

Advantages of Posting an Obituary Online Over Printed Ones

Printed obituaries are often subject to getting lost and sometimes become irretrievable as only a limited amount is usually in print. Published obituaries are also subject to wear and tear, and paper quality, especially that of newspapers, is often not good. Therefore, over the years, obituaries may become damaged.

Online platforms do not have this risk, as once one posts an obituary on it, it will remain there and remain preserved. If a physical copy is needed, one can always print the pages out, in whatever quality one might need.

Online obituaries are also often less expensive because publication charges are not involved. Some websites even offer this service for free.

Online obituaries do not have limitations when it comes to the length and appearance of the obituary. This feature is not the case with newspapers where the cost of posting depends on the obituary’s length and appearance and where they must follow strict layouts. The length and appearance of online obituaries are entirely up to you. The design is customizable, which allows you to incorporate the tastes of the deceased into it. Hence, online obituaries are more visually appealing than printed ones.

Online obituaries are accessible anywhere, allowing loved ones from any part of the world to access them. They are also more interactive than printed ones as loved ones can share fond memories and anecdotes under online obituaries, including photos and videos.

One can also share online obituaries across platforms and on many popular social media. This feature ensures the news of the death of your loved one reaches more people.

Steps One Needs to Follow While Posting Obituaries on Printed Newspapers

1. Choose the Publisher

Determine which publication to choose based on the place where the deceased lived and their reach. Families can select national newspapers if their loved ones have been popular and local newspapers can be chosen based on where your loved one lived most of their lives.

Legacy.com is a death notice website that will help you find newspapers in your area that post obituaries. They provide samples of notices from different publications, and they also provide instructions on how to submit an obituary and provide links to do the same. For example, the Washington Post announces death through either death notices or news obituaries. Washington Post death notices can be submitted by friends or family members of the deceased by contacting the Washington Post via phone or emailing them.

On the other hand, the Washington post staff write the obituary themselves, and this requires the deceased to have lived in the D.C area for more than 20 years, more than anywhere else, and other such specifications. News Obituaries also need an online form to be filled and a family representative to call the Washington Post after submission.

There is no guarantee when the news obituaries are published, and they often do not include photographs and other personal details of other family members or survivors of the deceased.    

2. Research

Visit the website of your preferred newspapers. Most newspaper websites have a section for obituaries to find information about their procedures and forms to fill up to submit the obituary with samples. In case such information and documents are not provided, one can contact the obituary editor directly via call or email.

Some critical conditions that one needs to enquire about while calling/emailing are:

  • What is the cost of posting an obituary in their newspaper?
  • How is the cost determined? (whether it depends on the number of lines, characters, or space taken up, i.e., inches) Many may ask why obituaries are so expensive in newspapers, but the added effort will ensure that loved ones have some keepsake of the incident.
  • Are spaces between words considered as characters?
  • Does including photographs increase the price?
  • Are there any formatting requirements that one should follow?
  • What is the mode of submission of the obituary? Should it be submitted in-person, or is emailing preferred?
  • What type of file should one use for sending the text and photographs for email submissions? The wrong kind of file may cause delays, which may result in the obituary not being posted on time.
  • What is the verification process for obituaries? Are death certificates or numbers of funeral directors required to be submitted?

Different newspapers may have different formats and lengths that they follow for obituaries. Submission deadlines also vary from publication to publication, but generally, obituary texts are required to be submitted two to three days before the publication date.

Whether you want to include a photo or logo should be mentioned beforehand, along with the number of days you want the obituary posted. If you are only enquiring about the price quote, one should mention that to the publisher as well.

3. Compare Costs Before Making Decisions

After gathering information about all your preferred newspapers’ costs and requirements, compare them with each other. Decide which option you want to go with based on your budget, stylistic preferences, and convenience.

4. Edit and Proofread the Text

After making the obituary draft, employ a friend or family member to look it over and edit it. Pay attention to the grammar and spelling of the text. Pay special attention to the tone of the text as obituaries are a sensitive domain.

One should not include too much personal information like mother’s maiden names, birthdays, and residential addresses as it brings a risk of identity theft.

5. Submission

Once you are satisfied with the text, you can submit it to the newspaper. Submission should be made on time and through the preferred channel, whether it is through email or in person. You should also request to see the obituary before it is published to determine all information is correct.

Cost and Other Details to Consider

The cost of posting obituaries differs from newspaper to newspaper. Some newspapers, usually local newspapers, offer free obituary posts, while others may charge some fees.

Usually, newspapers in locations closer to cities charge more than rural areas. National newspapers charge considerably more than local newspapers too.

Newspapers usually charge per line (assuming 50 to 60 characters per line). The charge also increases with the number of days it is in print. In some newspapers, attaching photos is included in the lineage, while it costs extra in some others.

The format in which one submits the text is also essential as wrong formats may delay the obituary publication. Photos are usually submitted in jpeg format and the text in pdfs if it is an online submission. In-person submissions generally require hard copies. It is imperative to enquire about the design from the newspaper as different editors have different preferences.

One should turn in email submissions before noon and hard copies before 3 pm. Some information to be provided at the time of submission are:

  • Your name and contact details like your phone number and address
  • The name and contact details of the funeral home or mortuary that is taking care of the arrangements.
  • If you are not working with a funeral home, the contact details of the crematorium or mortuary.
  • The date that you would like your obituary to be published.

The obituary editor will contact you with the final details and verify the cost with you before they go ahead with the publishing.

Steps to Follow to Post an Online Obituary

Steps One Needs to Follow While Posting Obituaries on Printed Newspapers

Online obituaries are rising in popularity because they are much more cost-effective than printed ones and easily shareable.

The reach of online obituaries has increased these days, with the internet being the primary source of information for most people. Online obituaries stay online for much longer compared to the few days that printed ones stay in newspapers.

Steps One Need to Follow to Post an Online Obituary:

1. Research

A simple internet search will give you lists of appropriate websites where you can post an obituary for your loved one. Some such websites include newspaper websites, funeral homes, online obituaries, community organizations, fraternal organizations, social media, etc.

2. Make Inquiries

Most funeral homes, crematoriums, and mortuaries, offer online obituaries as part of their services. Make inquiries about their offers.

3. Ask for the Price Details

After narrowing down your options, inquire about the obituary’s price list/details on the different platforms. Many websites offer their services completely free of charge.

4. Ask for the Procedures to be Followed

websites often have admins with whom you can make inquiries about the details of types of files to be sent in and formats to be followed.

5. Submit the Obituary

While some platforms require you to submit the text and photos to them for posting, others offer free reign to create an obituary directly on their website.

Paid online obituary websites usually allow clients to post unlimited text, completely customized pages with choice backgrounds, and even background music. Some even offer social features with guestbooks, where friends and family can connect.

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