By: Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho
My friend died last week. It became my job to write his obituary. We were friends for 40 years, but I did not know all the details I thought he would want included. People want to have an obituary for many reasons. They want to provide details of the time and location of any memorial service, to let their friends and family know they are gone, to provide some history for genealogy records, and to tell their life’s story.
How can you prepare to write your own obituary or help someone create his or her own? Some basic information needed for both the obituary and the death certificate includes:
Name, age, birthdate, date of death
Will photos be used? Many papers allow a maximum of 2 pictures
Resident of what city and state at the time of death
Date, time and location of any service
Viewing time and location
Parents’ names and birthplaces
Life history that may include education, military service, marriages [names of spouses, dates and places], areas where resided, employment and hobbies
Membership activities including religious, social, and fraternal, volunteer, civic and business organizations
Survivors – spouse, children, siblings, grandchildren and other friends.
Preceded in death by other family members.
Why not write your own obituary? That way you get to decide the public information you want to be shared at your death. If you wait, you may miss the opportunity and an incomplete record of your life will be published.
So start now.