February 10, 2023

What’s the Difference Between a Death Notice and an Obituary?

One of the ways we pay tribute to those who have passed is through death notices and obituaries. We see these announcements in newspapers all the time, but can we tell the difference between the two? People think they’re interchangeable, but there are crucial differences between them.

It’s worth learning about death notices and obituaries to help you decide which is better for you and your loved ones when the time comes. To help you, here’s a short guide that explains their differences and how to create them.

What Is a Death Notice?

Similar to classified advertisements, you pay for death notices. Families are responsible for writing, submitting, and paying for them and have the option to select any newspaper or publication. Death notices are announcements that state the deceased’s name, the details of the funeral, and how people can donate. They also include brief biographical information.

What Is an Obituary?

Unlike death notices, it’s the editorial staff of a newspaper that usually writes obituaries. Families can request an obituary written for their loved ones. However, newspapers have the final say on whether they want to publish the story. Aside from announcing a person’s death, obituaries include a detailed biographical writeup. Large newspaper companies will usually only publish famous or influential people’s obituaries. But small ones can oblige if you ask them.

Where Do You Publish Death Notices and Obituaries?

Traditionally, print newspapers are the outlets for death notices and obituaries. Families would usually place them in various newspapers, including local and national ones. They would also publish them in the deceased’s hometown paper to inform friends and relatives. Aside from newspapers, death notices and obituaries can also appear in religious and volunteer organizations’ newsletters.

Now, online newspapers and obituary websites are popular options for death announcements. Some newspapers will automatically publish an online version of the printed death notice or obituary on their website. It’s best to check with the publication, so you know exactly where your death announcement will appear. These websites can offer additional services, too, such as photo tributes and guest books.

What’s the Publication Process for Death Notices and Obituaries?

The easiest and fastest way to get a death notice or obituary published is to go through a funeral home. They usually charge for this, but they know what to do and who to contact. While you can reach out to newspapers and publications on your own, they will require you to procure a death certificate or a verification of death. It takes a while to obtain these documents and can delay the publication of your death announcement.

How Much Do Death Notices and Obituaries Cost?

You need to pay a fee to have a death notice published. The price depends on how many words or lines you include in the announcement. Pictures come with additional costs. On the other hand, obituaries are typically free because newspapers pick them up as stories. They choose the interesting ones they think will bring value to the publication. However, some companies will accept payment if you want a guaranteed spot in the paper.

Prices of death notices and obituaries vary depending on your location and chosen newspaper or publication. It’s best to review your options first regarding costs before you make a final decision.

The Bottom Line

Losing a loved one is never easy, but you can honor their life with a death notice or obituary. Choose the format that best suits your needs and budget. For more information, contact Wyuka Cemetery at (402)-474-3600.


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