Proper Etiquette for Thank You Notes for Funerals

Written by jennifer erchul
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Proper Etiquette for Thank You Notes for Funerals
Bereavement thank you card (silver thank you image by Brett Mulcahy from

Family members often receive flowers, condolence cards, meals and gifts when their loved one dies. While these are appreciated and accepted, they must also be acknowledged. The Emily Post Institute claims, "Notes of condolence should be acknowledged with a handwritten note." While there is no set time frame for sending out bereavement thank you notes, there is proper etiquette.

Time Frame

The Emily Post Institute mentions there is no set time frame for getting out your thank you notes; the Rochester Funeral Homes website suggests you should get them out within two weeks. Because this can be overwhelming and emotional, complete your funeral thank you notes on your own time. Complete a few each day, and enlist the help of friends and family. The thank yous will get sent out. And rest assured no one is offended by a slow bereavement thank you.

Proper Etiquette for Thank You Notes for Funerals
Writing a personal thank you note (escribir_2 image by drakis from

What Warrents a Thank You

Write thank you notes to anyone who sent a gift or card. People who made a donation in your family's name or the deceased's name should get a thank you, as should anyone who performed helpful tasks. These include providing child care, preparing/delivering food to the grieving family or running errands. The clergy who performed the service should receive a thank you note and anyone else involved in the service, such as pallbearers, speakers and singers.

Proper Etiquette for Thank You Notes for Funerals
Each floral arrangement should be acknowledged. (thai funeral image by Adrian Hillman from

Who Gets a Thank You

If a card or flowers are sent by a large group or organisation, you can address the thank you note to the leader of the group, but acknowledge all members within the note. If the condolence card or floral card has several names on it, send a thank you note to each person.

Proper Etiquette for Thank You Notes for Funerals
Send a thank you to the leader of organisations. (plastic flowers in cemetery image by astoria from

What to Write

Bereavement thank you notes do not have to be elaborate or labour intensive, but they should be handwritten. If you do not know the person well, a sentence or two expressing your appreciation for their gift, help or note will suffice. If you are sending a thank you card to someone you are close to, you can make it more personal. Regardless, these thank you notes need be no longer than a few sentences. You can write a simple, "Thank you so much for your thoughtful words." Or "Thank you for your generous donation to the Cancer Society. It is a cause Ralph truly supported."

How Other People Can Help

You can ask a family member or close friend to help you with your thank you notes. Your sister can keep track of all gifts and cards and who sent them. Ask your best friend to help write the notes or address the envelopes. Your brother can mail the cards and your children can help in any capacity they are capable of. You do not have to do this alone.

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