When someone dies, it’s traditional for their family to release what’s known as a death announcement. This is part of proper funeral etiquette, though it might not be something everyone is familiar with.
What exactly is a death announcement? Simply put, it’s a formal way to announce the death of a loved one. It’s a small and brief announcement informing the community that someone has passed away. You might also hear this called a death notice.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What's Included in a Death Announcement?
- How to Download Your Death Announcement Template
- How to Fill in and Print Your Completed Death Announcement
- Where to Publish Your Death Announcement
How do you write a death announcement for a family member or friend? Because finding the right words and formatting can be difficult, here is a free death announcement template for Word or Google Docs. This is one less thing to worry about after a loss.
What’s Included in a Death Announcement?
As mentioned above, a death announcement is a small and brief statement that informs the community, family, and friends about someone’s death. This could also be a longer, formal obituary. Similar to how to write an obituary, there are specific things to include in the death announcement:
- Name of the deceased
- Their date of birth
- Their date of death
- Dates and times of viewing or funeral (if open to the public)
- Place of birth/death
- Condolences or sympathy
It’s important to note that there isn’t usually any information in a death announcement about the individual’s family, relationships, career, or life story. That is more likely to be found in a longer obituary or eulogy. Instead, this is simply a short, to-the-point announcement of someone’s death.
Depending on where you choose to publish or print your death announcement, you might also need to include additional information. This could include:
- Contact name
- Contact phone or email address
- Contact address
- Payment information
Again, this will depend on where you choose to publish. Traditional publications like newspapers will be the most strict on formatting and including the right information. When in doubt, check with your chosen publication about what they recommend you include. Most editors are more than willing to work with you.
How to Download Your Death Announcement Template
Because death announcements can be tricky to write, especially if you don’t have any formal experience, we’ve created a template that’s easy to use. These include funeral announcement wording so you simply have to fill in the blanks with your own information.
If you’re ready to download your death announcement template, use the form below. There are two versions, one for Microsoft Word and one for Google Docs. You can choose which one works best for your needs depending on your software proficiency, tech skills, etc.
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How to Fill In and Print Your Completed Death Announcement
Once you’ve downloaded your free death announcement template, it’s time to fill in your information and share it. Follow these steps below depending on the version you choose to use.
How to edit your death announcement in Microsoft Word
- Download your free death announcement document using the form above.
- Locate your downloaded file on your computer and double click on the .zip file to unzip. Learn how to unzip a file on a PC or Mac with these tutorials.
- Once your file is unzipped, double click on the document titled “Microsoft Word Death Announcement.”
- Your document should open in Microsoft Word on your computer.
- There are 4 templates, choose the wording you like best and delete the others and the “Template” label.
- Replace the blank spaces with your own information. (For example “Deceased Name” with “John Smith)
- Replace the shape with an image by selecting it, going to “Shape Style,” and clicking the “Shape Fill” background arrow. Select “Picture.”
- When you’re done, save your document by going to “File” and clicking “Save As.”
- To print, go to “File” and click “Print.” Select your printer.
How to edit your death announcement in Google Docs
- Follow the steps above to download and unzip your documents on your computer.
- Log in to Google Drive.
- Click “New,” then click “File upload.”
- Locate the file named “Google Doc Death Announcement.”
- Click “Upload” to begin the upload process.
- To edit your document, double click on it within your Google Drive.
- Fill in the blank spaces with your information.
- Google Doc saves automatically in your browser, but you can download a hard copy by going to “File” and “Save to computer.”
- To print, go to “File” and click “Print.”
Both Microsoft Word and Google Docs make it easy to edit our free death announcement template. In just a few clicks, you’ll be done and on your way.
Where to Publish Your Death Announcement
What do you do with your death announcement once you’ve completed the free template? There are a lot of options thanks to our digital age. While in the past, it was traditional to only publish the death announcement in the local newspaper, there are many other choices today.
You might choose to opt for the traditional newspaper route, but this is the most restrictive. There is typically a word limit, and you might also need to pay a fee.
Alternatively, you could publish in any of these places below:
- Social media
- Email newsletter
- Community website
- Memorial page
- Funeral home website
- Organization or alumni newsletter
It’s not always easy to know what to say on Facebook when someone dies. While using social media is a great tool, sticking to a formal death announcement is a great way to find the right words to spread this sad news.
Create, Share, and Publish a Free Death Announcement
This free death announcement template above simplifies the process of honoring a loved one when their time comes. Historically, these death announcements were the only way to spread the news of a passing. Before the internet, this might be the only way someone learns that a friend or family member passed away.
Nowadays, we have more options than ever for creating, sharing, and publishing death announcements to honor those we love. However, it’s still tricky to find the right words and formatting. Let these free templates be a guide.
Death announcements are one of the many pieces of our legacy. They’re what generations look back on in the future, and they’re a way to share the story of a time and a place. Publishing one for a loved one ensures their life is recognized and honored.