4 Customizable Secure Obituary Templates

Honoring Your Loved One While Protecting Their Legacy: A Guide to a Secure Obituary

A guide to a secure obituary.

At The Casket Queen, we understand that losing a loved one is a deeply personal experience. While obituaries serve as a beautiful way to celebrate a life well-lived and inform friends and family, you might have reservations about publishing private details, especially in today’s digital age.

Our previous post, “Privacy and Fraud Concerns: Choosing Whether or Not to Publish an Obituary,” explored the potential risks associated with obituaries. This post aims to empower you. We’ll delve into strategies for crafting secure obituaries that honor your loved one’s memory while safeguarding their digital footprint and financial assets.

Striking a Balance: Privacy Considerations in Obituaries

Here are key areas to consider when constructing a secure obituary:

  • Limited Personal Information: Refrain from including details like the deceased’s date of birth, home address, or specific details about their financial situation.
  • Consider a Delayed Announcement: If you’re concerned about immediate security risks, postpone the obituary by a few days. This allows close family and friends to be informed privately before the broader public.
  • Obituaries in Multiple Locations: If publishing in a newspaper alongside an online obituary, consider omitting specific details from the online version.
  • Limiting Location Details: Instead of a specific address, mention the general area (e.g., “lived in the heart of San Francisco”) or the name of the cemetery where they will be laid to rest (if public).
  • Cautious Use of Dates: While it’s important to acknowledge the date of passing, consider omitting the year or specific details surrounding the death (e.g., “passed away peacefully on [date]”). This reduces the risk of identity theft attempts that utilize birth and death dates.
  • Beware of Tributes with Personal Information: While tributes are a nice touch, kindly request contributors to avoid mentioning the deceased’s address, phone number, or workplace specifics.
  • Review Funeral Home Services: Funeral homes often offer online obituary services. Carefully review their privacy policies to understand how they handle personal information included in the obituary.
  • Consider a Password-Protected Obituary: Some online obituary platforms offer password protection, allowing access only to those with the designated code. This can be helpful for particularly sensitive situations.

Beyond the Obituary:

  • Secure Important Documents: Encourage your loved ones to keep important documents like wills, power of attorney, and account information in a secure location, accessible to designated individuals.
  • Fraud Alerts: Consider requesting a fraud alert on the deceased’s credit report to further protect their financial information.
  • Identity Theft Monitoring Services: Explore identity theft monitoring services for the deceased (if available) to be alerted of any suspicious activity.

By being proactive and considering these additional areas, you can ensure a secure obituary and minimize the chances of any fraudulent activity impacting your loved one’s legacy.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider Including a Contact Person: Instead of listing the deceased’s address, designate a trusted family member or friend as a point of contact for condolences.
  • Utilize Password Managers: Encourage the deceased to use password managers for their accounts while they are still alive. This allows easy access for authorized individuals to close accounts and secure sensitive information after their passing.
  • Be Mindful of Photos: While photos can add a personal touch, ensure you have permission to use the images, especially if they include other living individuals.

Remember:

The key is to strike a balance between honoring your loved one’s memory and protecting their digital and financial legacy. By implementing these strategies and remaining vigilant after publication, you can ensure a respectful obituary while safeguarding their loved ones from potential harm.

Frequently Asked Questions; A Guide to A Secure Obituary

Is it still okay to include the deceased’s place of work in the obituary?

It’s best to avoid mentioning the specific workplace. A general industry or profession is okay (e.g., “devoted teacher”). Protecting both the deceased’s privacy and their former colleagues’ information is important.

What if I want to share a funny anecdote about the deceased that involves another person?

Always get permission from the other person mentioned before including their details in the obituary. It’s better to be safe than risk unintentionally exposing someone’s privacy.

Should I include details about the funeral service online?

This depends on your comfort level. You can mention the date and general location (e.g., “a private ceremony will be held”), or consider providing details directly to those you wish to attend. Online privacy is essential, so be cautious about sharing specifics.

What if I’m unsure about what information to include?

When in doubt, leave it out. It’s always better to prioritize privacy. Focus on the positive impact your loved one had and the memories they leave behind.

Where can I find more information on protecting my loved one’s assets from fraud?

You can reach out to organizations like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the AARP Fraud Watch Network for further guidance.

What if I already published an obituary with some personal details? What can I do?

If you’re concerned about information in an existing obituary, some online platforms allow you to edit or remove the obituary altogether. For print publications, unfortunately, there’s no way to retract the information once published. However, you can be extra vigilant about monitoring online activity and report any suspicious activity you encounter.

Is there a difference between a secure obituary and a traditional obituary?

A secure obituary prioritizes omitting sensitive details that could be used for fraudulent purposes. Traditional obituaries often include more personal information like birthdates, addresses, and details about surviving family members.

Can I share the obituary on social media?

You can share the obituary on social media, but be mindful of the platform’s privacy settings. Consider sharing a link to the obituary instead of copying and pasting the entire text, especially if it’s published on a secure platform.

What about online memorial pages? Are they safe?

Online memorial pages can be a great way to remember your loved one. However, choose reputable memorial websites with clear privacy policies. Like obituaries, avoid including sensitive information on these pages.

How long should I monitor online activity for suspicious behavior?

Unfortunately, there’s no set timeframe. It’s a good practice to be vigilant for at least a few months after the obituary is published, especially if you included any details that could be exploited.

Should I check my deceased loved one’s credit report?

Yes, it’s highly recommended. Checking their credit report allows you to identify any suspicious activity, like new accounts opened fraudulently in their name.

How often should I check my deceased loved one’s credit report?

There’s no single recommended frequency. Here’s a breakdown:

Immediately After Death: An initial check helps identify any immediate fraudulent activity.

During the First Year: Monitor credit reports regularly during the first year after death, as this is a prime timeframe for fraudsters to strike.

-Long-Term Monitoring (Optional): Consider placing a fraud alert or freeze on the deceased’s credit report for ongoing protection. Some credit reporting agencies may offer specific monitoring services for deceased individuals. Check with each bureau for details.

How do I check my deceased loved one’s credit report?

You’ll need to contact each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). They typically require documentation proving your authority to access the report, such as a death certificate and proof of your relationship to the deceased (e.g., executor of the will).

What should I do if I find suspicious activity on the credit report?

If you identify any unauthorized accounts or inquiries, report them immediately to the credit bureau and the creditor involved. You can also place a fraud alert or freeze on the deceased’s credit report to prevent further fraudulent activity.

Is there a deadline to report a death to the credit bureaus?

There’s no strict deadline, but notifying them promptly helps protect your loved one’s legacy. The Social Security Administration eventually notifies the bureaus, but this can take time.

Are printed newspaper obituaries safer than an online obituary since nobody gets the newspaper anymore?

While it might seem like newspaper obituaries are safer due to the paywall, online obituaries actually offer more control over privacy in most cases. Here’s a breakdown:

Newspaper Obituaries:

Limited Control: Newspapers often have character or word count restrictions, limiting what you can omit or control regarding sensitive information.

Permanent Record: Information published in a newspaper becomes part of the public record and can’t be easily removed.

Accessibility: While a paywall might deter casual browsing, microfilm archives and online databases can often access historical newspapers, making the obituary findable years later.

Online Obituaries:

Greater Control: Many online platforms allow customization and editing, letting you control the information included in the obituary.

Potential Removal: Some online platforms allow obituary removal after a period, offering more flexibility.

Limited Accessibility: Free online obituaries may not be permanently archived and could become inaccessible over time. Paid obituary platforms often offer archiving options.

Security Considerations:

Both formats have potential security risks. Newspaper obituaries lack the immediate reach of online versions, potentially giving families a head start in securing assets before scammers become aware.

For both online and print, the key is to be mindful of the information included.

Here’s the takeaway:

Newspaper obituaries aren’t inherently safer. They offer limited control and permanent records.

Online obituaries often provide more control over privacy and potential removal options.

The best approach:

Regardless of format, prioritize omitting sensitive details like dates of birth, addresses, and full names of surviving family members.

Consider using a combination of online and print obituaries, with the online version offering more control and potentially reaching a wider audience.

By understanding the pros and cons of each format and prioritizing secure practices, you can create a respectful obituary while minimizing security risks for your loved ones.

What should be avoided in an obituary?

Specific Dates of Birth: Omit the year of birth or exact birthdate altogether. This helps prevent identity theft attempts that utilize birth and death dates.

Home Addresses and Full Names: Refrain from including the deceased’s full address or the full names of surviving family members, especially minors.

Financial Information: This includes details about assets or debts.

Unnecessary Details About Work: Avoid mentioning the deceased’s specific workplace or employer.

Personal Tributes with Sensitive Details: While tributes are a lovely touch, kindly request contributors to avoid mentioning the deceased’s address, phone number, or workplace specifics.

Suspicious Activity: Be wary of sharing details that could be used for scams, like specific illness information or travel plans.

Additional Tips:

Consider a delayed announcement: If you’re concerned about immediate security risks, postpone the obituary by a few days, allowing close family and friends to be informed privately before the broader public.

Use a limited online obituary: If using both online and print formats, consider including less detail in the online version for enhanced security.

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