How to Write an Obituary

Follow these steps to write an obituary.

Obituaries are intended to announce the loss of a loved one and should include information about the memorial and/or interment services. Beyond these details, however, you may wonder exactly what to include and how to write an obituary. Don’t worry about following a standard obituary format. Your tribute on can be as long or short as you wish. And the more unique you make it, the more meaningful it is. Use these tips to get started.   

Match the Writing Style to Their Personality

Obituaries don’t have to be solemn. Choose a tone matching the disposition of the person whose life you are remembering, whether writing about a loved one who recently passed away or scripting your own Life Story in advance. It’s perfectly acceptable to be upbeat as you write about an eternal optimist or use a humorous tone for someone who was rarely serious. The tone could also be encouraging, intellectual, humble or poetic — as long as the words are sincere.  

Tell Their Whole Story

Once you start writing an obituary, let the words flow. This process is very cathartic for many people and there aren’t any constraints on Use as many words as you want to share the character traits, personal interests, family roles, intimate details and unique experiences that made your loved one so special. Highlight a meaningful mantra, memorable quote or favorite quality with a colored callout in a larger font. You can also include as many photos as you want with the Life Story to complement the narrative. Gather a combination of candid and posed photos from the past and present to really showcase their personality.  

Include a Variety of Milestones

Make a list of important events — birth, graduation, military service, marriage, becoming a parent, etc.  Besides the basics, you may want to include religious callings, philanthropic endeavors, professional accomplishments and personal feats. Was your loved one an avid runner? Consider listing the date s/he completed that first marathon and including a finish line photo. Animal lover? Mention when special pets were adopted. And don’t forget “bucket list” items like traveling to a certain city/country or learning a new skill. These are all life-shaping events. There’s no need to put events and photos in chronological order when creating a Life Story on, this is automatically done for you on an interactive timeline. 

Get Help From Family Members and Friends

It’s easy to forget things when you’re grieving. Reach out to others who knew your loved one well (or those who are close to you if self-writing) and ask for their input as you write the tribute. They may recall dates, locations, facts and anecdotes you don’t. Once you’ve put everything together, you can easily share a private preview link to the Life Story and save a draft until you’re ready to publish. It’s always helpful to have a fresh set of eyes proofread and offer perspective before publishing. If anyone remembers something after publication, go back and perfect the tribute at any time.   

Few things are as moving as a Life Story that sincerely honors the spirit of a lost loved one. When writing an obituary, choose a tone that allows their personality to shine, tell their whole story using words and pictures, include meaningful milestones and ask friends and family to contribute. Preserve your loved one’s legacy on