How to write thank you notes after a death

Updated April 17, 2017

When a death occurs, friends, relatives, associates and others convey their respect for the deceased by donating to charities, churches or other of the deceased's favoured organisations. They often send food, floral tributes and money to help with a variety of funeral expenses or hardships the family might encounter. Despite your grief, if you have received these types of condolences, you need to follow appropriate etiquette and write thank-you notes after the death.

Designate who will write the notes. If you are too grief-stricken to perform this task, select one or two close family members to help you compile a list, verify addresses and write the notes.

Assemble a list of those who should receive acknowledgements. Include clergy, pallbearers and those who provided special help to the deceased or to you and the family. List people who sent floral tributes, cards, monetary donations or provided services such as driving, babysitting or housesitting.

Purchase inexpensive blank note cards and envelopes, or use cards the funeral home supplies for writing thank-you notes.

Address each note with the formal name and address of the person who provided the service or sent a tribute. Add your return address to the upper left-hand corner of the envelope. Use a pen with black ink to write the note by hand.

Use a simple message that thanks the recipient for the specific item offered. Mention the flowers or food donation or generosity of the monetary donation. If you know of a special relationship the deceased had with the giver, you might mention the friendship, or say that the deceased always had kind words to say. It is not necessary to write a long note.

Do not use thank-you notes to mention any past grievances. Be polite, and do not bring up unpleasant references to past events.


Double-check your list, and have two or three people check behind you. You do not want to leave anyone out.

Things You'll Need

  • Funeral register from home, church and funeral home
  • Cards from flowers and monetary gifts
  • Addresses of those who sent tributes or performed a service
  • Formal notes or stationery
  • Stamps
  • Black pen
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About the Author

Carrie Keathley served as a high school English teacher for more than 30 years. She now writes for various websites. Keathly earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Wesleyan College, a Master of Arts in English education from East Carolina University and is certified in teaching the academically gifted.