Writing an Obituary vs. a Death Notice

Obituaries vs. death notices

Death notices, or funeral notices, are generally brief announcements of a person's death. They often include the individual's name, age, and funeral service information. Obituaries, on the other hand, are longer. They often include details about the individual's life and accomplishments. Many tell stories. And all of them are written to honor the life of a deceased loved one.

More and more people are choosing to write obituaries themselves. So how do you go about writing an obituary that sums up the life of yours or your loved one?

Tips to help you write an obituary

Start by taking a look at ePassing for examples using our search by name feature for ideas how you might write yours or your loved one's obituary. You will also be given a template and guide after you REGISTER for an account with ePassing. Or if you need additional help writing an obituary you can use our Certified Obituary Writers to help (Additional Fees Apply).

Be sensitive to the words you choose. Look at the terminology suggested below for some guidance on how to select the appropriate words surrounding yours our your loved one's passing.

For example:

Funerals are scheduled, not held.

If appropriate, people die unexpectedly, not suddenly, since all deaths are sudden.

People die after surgery, not as a result of surgery.

People die from cancer, they don’t lose their battle with cancer.

A man is survived by his wife, not his widow.


If you'd like to include more information including pictures or life events, you can also create these items during the four-step wizard. One of the best features of an ePassing Page is that you have complete control over the page and can update it as often as you'd like. Plus, family members and friends can each share their memories of your loved one in one location using the integrated Life Book feature.

Begin with the facts

Start by writing down facts about yours or your loved one, like his or her date of birth, date of passing, residence, immediate family members, education, military service, employment, affiliations, and hobbies. While you may decide not to include all of this information, it's an easy place to begin and also an easy place to make mistakes or omissions. And don't forget to write down the day, date, time, and location of the funeral service, along with visitation or reception information if applicable. Include a phone number to call for more information.

A basic obituary includes:

The full name of the loved one.

A phrase that describes the him, like “Tom Smith, father of four and author of crime novels.”


The day and date of his passing, as well as the city and state of residence at the time of his passing.

Birth date and birthplace.

Background information.


Funeral information.

Once you have the basic facts in place, you can then focus on your loved one's life and how to honor his or her memory.

While obituaries are meant to be informative, they are also an opportunity to make a statement, even if it's only brief, about your loved one's life, values, and accomplishments. So after compiling the facts, push them aside for a while and concentrate on anecdotes and recollections that help illustrate the type of person your loved one was. For some, the obituary may be the only opportunity a person has to be written about publicly, so try to write at least one line that personifies your loved one. It can be as simple as, “Mom loved gardening—lilies were her favorite. We could always tell when she had just been out planting ... her cheeks would turn a soft shade of pink and her forehead would glisten just a bit.”

Consider writing multiple versions

As you write yours our your loved one's obituary, you may find it difficult to cut out information, stories, or descriptions in order to meet your word limit if considering a newspaper obituary however not necessary with ePassing we dont have a word limit.. So why not consider writing multiple versions? You could then use one for a eulogy, and another on the ePassing Page.

Proofread, proofread, proofread

It seems obvious, but before submitting and approving an obituary for publication, triple check the spelling, grammar, punctuation, and facts. Read each word carefully, and perhaps even ask a couple of others to do the same. If you have selected our forever plan or custom creation we will do this for you 

To get started, click here to create your account  and receive our obituary guide and template. Or if you need additional help writing an obituary you can use our Certified Obituary Writers to help (Additional Fees Apply)Our modern, meaningful service saves families an average of $350 in obituary fees charged by funeral homes and newspapers.

EPASSING OBITUARY PAGE COST: It's only $3, to get started. If we could make this service available for free, we would, but we have to charge a small, nominal fee to help make our organization viable to ensure it's available for families into the future. 

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