How Do I Announce a Death?

Updated April 17, 2017

While inevitable, death is never easy to deal with and the loss of a family member or friend can be so heartbreaking you want to run away from the world and do nothing at all. However, out of respect for the dead it is traditional to relay the sad news and make arrangements for a time of mourning as well as a celebration of a life.

Contact the immediate family of the deceased such as the spouse, children and/or parents. Talk in person if possible. If not, call and ask them to go somewhere quiet where they can sit down and focus on the conversation at hand.

Assign a close relative or friend the task of calling other family members and friends. Provide a phone book or list of contacts for this person. Once the date, time and location of the burial or memorial service is known, this information should be relayed through phone calls.

Contact the deceased's employer (if applicable). Ask him to inform co-workers.

Write an obituary for the newspaper. The cost is determined by length according to your local newspaper. Contact the newspaper for details. A "death notice," a shorter version of an obituary with the basic details of the deceased's name, birth and date of death are published for free by most papers.

Create a press release or tribute for a magazine if the deceased was a person of prominence in his local community or nationwide.


Take your time with the announcements, especially in person. People need time to process such things.

Things You'll Need

  • Personal contact list
  • Phone
  • Burial service/memorial information
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