A death notice is a paid announcement in a newspaper that gives the name of the person who died, details of the funeral or memorial service, where donations can be made in the deceased’s name and some amount of biographical information. You can write and submit a death notice to local or national newspapers and have them publish the notice for a fee.
These usually follow a standard format from local newspapers, right up to national broadsheets. The easiest way to word them is to look at someone else’s in the press and 'copy' the format.
Florence, (Flo) Nee Evans. Peacefully in Katherine House Hospice on 14 May aged 69 years. Beloved wife of the late William, a much loved mother of David and a dear sister to Betty and the late Eddie. Funeral Service at St Paul's Church on Monday 20 May at 12noon followed by cremation at Stafford Crematorium. Family flowers only please, donations if desired to (Charity or Organisation name) c/o (Name and Address of Funeral Directors)
Points to note
If someone was always known by a nickname it is acceptable to just use that in the notice.
Using a maiden name for ladies may inform some long lost old school friend. They may have some interesting and funny tales you may never have known about.
It is not nice to go into too much detail over the cause of death (some papers won’t allow it anyway) Peacefully/suddenly/after a long illness bravely borne or even just '... on 14 May ...' remember, it will be placed in the deaths column of the paper so there’s no need to go into too much detail.
Age, did the person care about their age, were they proud of it or would they want it kept a secret.
Next of kin, spouse first (if already deceased then something like 'beloved wife of the late William' is fine. Children next, oldest first. You can then mention in-laws if you wish (not totally necessary) and then grandchildren /great grandchildren. It is acceptable if there are lots of grandchildren to just put something like 'and also a devoted grandmother/grandma/nana'.
It is important to check, double check and then get someone else to check spellings and to make sure no-one has been left out. Far better to keep it nice and simple than to mention everyone. It can be unbelievably upsetting for a family if mistakes are made with notices.
Service dates and times
If there is a service in church first the only real point to note is whether you want the committal part private and just for family only (ie the interment or the committal at the crematorium) then this must be stated in the notice.
Mention the charity by name (so people can make cheques out to the charity concerned and not to the funeral director). It is usually better for the Funeral Director to handle all of the donations on your behalf. A few weeks after the service they will send you a list of all the people that have made donations and the total amount (not individual amounts), they will then pass these on to the charity concerned and ask them to acknowledge their safe receipt to you.
Never put a full address in the press. Some people have been the target of crime as you are basically telling people when the house will be empty, unfortunately it has happened. Most papers now won’t allow it anyway.