Is an obituary required by law?

Now, I realize that SDMB folks are from far and wide, so answers may vary, but are obituaries a legal requirement? The other day a guy at work spotted the name of someone that he knew in the obits. The ad read like this:

“Joe Blow, 30-something, of Edmonton, died on May 5”

That was all there was. As the death occured about a month before, it didn’t semm like a way of announcing his funeral or anything. I vaguely remember hearing that it was for the deceased’s creditors to know that the person was dead. This struck me as a bit weird, but the person who told me couldn’t remember who them or why this would be so. Any ideas?


Obituaries required by law?

Probably in some places but how do you publish an obit or notice in a town which has no newspaper?

There are some companies and agencies which must be notified [soc. security, pension sources, insurance etc.] but I don’t believe a general public notification is required.

If I’m wrong at least I’m going to soon be informed ,-----I’m sure!

A reclusive fellow who retired from our shop this year asked if I would witness his signature on his will.
In that will, drawn up by an attorney, he states that when he dies he does not want an obit or any other acknowledgment sent anywhere to anyone. Period.
Since a lawyer who will handle the estate has allowed this to appear in the will…I conclude that this is a wordy version of Sunbear’s post.

Here’s a legal perspective. No, obituaries are not required by law. However, often times (at least in my humble jurisdiction), there is a requirement that administration of an estate, especially of an intestate decedent (one who died without a will) include an advertisement in the local newspaper of record that the estate is being administered. This is to give formal notice to any unknown creditors to allow them to present their claims to the administrator of the estate.

Just a theory. Of course, it could be someone with a burning desire to immortalize himself by appearing in print (albeit posthumously).

President of the Vernon Dent fan club.

I put some money in my fathers account once.
A few hundred dollars that I could get out with an ATM card. When the guy passed, was trying to figure out how to get the money. So
one day at 11pm got $200, then when back after midnight, got another $200, the next day, $200 and then the bank found out about him and I couldn’t access the last $70 [but I got it from the probate later].

The question is, who told the bank?

How could a person control, through his will, what a newspaper does or does not print. If a newspaper doesn’t print the names of those who die, some nutcase might accuse the paper of a cover-up.

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
Hunter Thompson

A dead person can’t control the newspaper, but can try to get survivors not to send an obit to the newspaper. If you think that your will isn’t a good way to prevent an obit, you’re right; it’s likely no one will read it until too late.

It should be noted that in most of the U.S., (and certainly in almost all big city newspapers) the “announcement” type obituary listing (who he/she is survived by, where the viewing/services will be where to send flowers or money – all of the deceased listed in alphabetical order) is a paid ad, much like a classified ad. You often pay by the length of the ad. These are usually pushed by the funeral director, submitted to the paper by the funeral home, and are paid as part of the funeral home bill.

The “article” type obituaries next to the listings are up to the newspaper. They are treated like news stories and are free. Newspapers pick and choose who they include in this category, usually depending on the fame of the deceased (or sometimes how much information the family of the deceased provides for publication).

“The “article” type obituaries next to the listings are up to the
newspaper. They are treated like news stories and are free.”
Yeah, my father got one of those and it was about half a page. The guy who wrote it refused to sign his name to it & didn’t even check the facts first. At least if a person writes one they can say what to put in it, but if the paper writes one, they can say anything.

Obituaries of any size were usually prepared ahead of time and kept up to date by the newspaper staff over the years. Therefore, there is no “author” to sign it.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams