How to write an obituary.

The importance of writing, sharing, and preserving yours or a loved one's obituary cannot be underestimated. It is one of the greatest opportunities—and privileges—we can ever have to share life's journey. However, it's not something many people have experience doing. This can make the thought of writing yours or your loved one's obituary feel overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. ePassing also has Certified Obituary Writers on stand by waiting to help if needed(Additional fees apply).

Writing an obituary can help the healing process and provides a deep level of satisfaction and joy knowing that yours or your loved one's story won't be forgotten. In addition, you'll likely learn something valuable and memorable from the things you remembered and cherished about yours or your loved one's life. We know this from experience, as writing and sharing these life stories is the foundation ePassing was built upon. Many of our team members have used this exercise to help share the life story of a loved one they lost.

So where do you start? Well, like any story, you start at the beginning. From there, try to break the story out into the stages of their life and the important things that happened during each time period.

Below you’ll see we’ve broken an average life span out into different stages. Within each we've identified important events and facts to consider including in their story. Please keep in mind, this is simply a helpful exercise to give you the suggested outline for writing an obituary. Every life is unique, every life span is different, every life has a purpose, and each obituary should be written and shared as such.

NOTE: The life periods listed below are simply a suggested timeline based on the average lifespan. We realize that each event or fact that we list in each time period may not occur in everyone's life, can occur at different parts in people's lives, or can occur at multiple times during someone's life.

  • Childhood:
    • Birth date and location.
    • Full name and why their parents gave it to them.
    • The house(s) and town(s) they grew up in.
    • What their parents did for work and their backgrounds.
    • Relationship and memorable stories or memories of their parents and other family members.
    • Important childhood friends, school memories and summer activities.
    • Childhood passions, including sports, academics and other activities.
  • Teenage Years:
    • Schools attended and favorite subjects and activities.
    • Family traditions and stories that grew throughout the years.
    • First experiences, including job, vehicle, etc.
    • Influential people and experiences that impacted the course of their life.
  • Becoming an Adult:
    • Falling in love, with whom and how.
    • Post-secondary education and experiences.
    • Moving away from home and living on their own.
    • Hardships or tragedies they overcame that impacted the rest of their life.
    • Important friends and shared experiences with them.
    • Key moments or occurrences that help them decide what they wanted to be.
  • Being an Adult:
    • Engagement and marriage—their love story.
    • Birth of children and building a family life.
    • Favorite moments of being a parent or not being a parent.
    • Career development and growth, and leadership experiences and acknowledgements.
    • Memorable vacations with family or friends.
  • The Middle Years:
    • Children's accomplishments and memorable events.
    • Career and professional milestones.
    • Life philosophies and views that they liked to share.
    • Redevelopment of strong friendships/relationships.
    • Accomplished something they never thought they could.
  • The Golden Years:
    • Retirement and post-career plans.
    • Moved to a new location.
    • Celebrating important anniversaries.
    • Travel experiences and favorite past times/hobbies.
    • Growth of family, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
    • Overcame/experienced health challenges.


To get started, click here to create your account and receive access to our exclusive obituary guide and writing 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 is only $3, and saves families an average of $350 in obituary fees charged by funeral homes and newspapers.


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