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May 15, 2020 Beyond The Dash

The Results Are In: 65% of Americans Want an Obituary When They Die — Why Don't They Get One?

From budget constraints to difficulty writing, there are obstacles to writing an obituary

The Results Are In: 65% of Americans Want an Obituary When They Die — Why Don't They Get One?
An obituary is a milestone that marks the end of a life, but there are several barriers to fulfilling this final wish. (Getty Images)

Most people want a tribute written in their honor after they pass away. A 2020 study by Beyond the Dash showed that 65% of adult Americans would like an obituary written in their honor when they pass away. While there are many touching tributes to extraordinary lives in the Obituaries section of the local number, many people who want an obituary after they die aren't afforded this honor. 


Budget constraints

Print death notices can cost as little as $50 in most newspapers, but most short print tributes cost between $200 and $600. A longer life story can easily cost more than $1,000. There are free affordable online obituary options, but many of these expire after a certain amount of time, or require funds to unlock key features.

Beyond the Dash obituaries are free to publish online. They include a complimentary guestbook, and never expire. 

Price shock

Even if the price is within the funeral budget, the idea of paying hundreds (or thousands) for a concise, one-day tribute in the newspaper can seem extravagant. In the aftermath of a death, families are often anxious to both pay respectful tribute to their loved one, while also not squandering any money that may be left behind. Price shock alone is enough to deter many families from publishing their loved one's life story. 

Funeral expenses, even reasonable ones, can be shocking. On top of the death, it feels like everyone is trying to gouge you for money. The burial or cremation, ceremony, reception and administrative fees alone can easily cost more than $10,000. While the most lavish arrangements may not be necessary, a proper final send-off is essential, even if it is minimal. 

Don't be put off by an obituary price. Shortening the story, reducing the number of images features, or choosing an online option are all ways to cut costs. 

Effort of writing

Writing is hard. Even seasoned writers find their art agonizingly difficult at times. With obituaries, that agony is tenfold. There is the pressure of writing a tribute that does justice to the life of the deceased, while also keeping it concise, correct, and complimentary. Rising to the occasion is also difficult when the writer is in the throes of grief. 

It's okay to delay the writing of an obituary if the effort of writing is too difficult. However, it is an important milestone for many people. Ensuring an obituary is written in honor of a loved one is a final gift to them. It will outline their legacy and accomplishments, so future generations can refer to it and remember their ancestor. 

Benefits of an obituary:

  • Provides a level of closure in the deceased person's life story

  • Affords respect to the deceased person's end-of-life arrangements

  • Announces the death in a practical manner

  • Allows the family to control the narrative surrounding the death

  • Acts as a historical record for family history research

  • Keeps the story of a person's life alive

  • Acknowledges surviving family members and other special loved ones who are grieving

  • Provides funeral service details to the community

  • Honors the deceased's wishes for a written tribute

Create an obituary today

It's never too late to create an online memorial and obituary in honor of a loved one who has passed away. Whether it has been days, months or years, an online obituary is a practical and affordable way to remember one who has passed and connect with others who knew them too. 

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