The Library

Informing Others

Browse our expert advice
Telling family and friends the sad news

Informing family and friends of your loved one’s passing may be one of the hardest and most difficult tasks you will ever have to do. Remember to take things slow, lead with compassion, and be kind to yourself throughout the process.

How to inform people about a loved one’s death

From face-to-face conversations to posting to social media to everything in between, there are a few different options when delivering the sad news.

Notifying your loved one’s wider circle

Once your loved one’s closest friends and immediate family are told, you will have to begin sharing the sad news with the larger community of people who knew and loved them. And it’s a good idea to delegate some of this taxing list of calls.

Loss is hard. Its vocabulary shouldn’t be.

We speak the specialized language of estates and funerals so you don’t have to.


The person appointed by the court to handle the estate of someone who dies without a will.

The duties of an administrator are similar to those of an executor, but as there is no will to execute, he or she is named administrator and distributes assets according to a procedure dictated by state law.


The sum total of someone’s net worth, including all assets. From a legal standpoint, an estate is not simply everything the person owns, but the value of all of these assets minus any debts or other liabilities. Estates are calculated differently depending on their purpose.
For example, the taxable estate may include assets that are not in the probate estate.


A service held to commemorate someone’s life. Memorials are generally considered distinct from funerals in that they are held without the body present and are not focused on the burial, although services where the urn with the loved one’s ashes is present are also called memorials. Traditionally, a funeral is a more formal service while memorials are often more unstructured.

To see the full glossary