Using AI to write obits – my take on it

One of my clients recently asked for my comments on Tribute Tech’s new AI-based obituary writer. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a snippet from their promotional email.

With the NEW Obituary Writer, your families can enter their loved one’s information and instantly generate a customized, heartfelt obituary in seconds. No more questions about how to write an obituary or even having to write obituaries yourself. The best part? It’s all done on your website and can be used by your current families, your team or even your community aka your future families as a tool that is available through YOU.

I considered this concept, and here’s the first part of my reply to my client.

There’s no question that the technology is impressive.

But….giving that capability to the family is just one more way for a Funeral Director to make themselves irrelevant.

In this newsletter, I’ll explain my response and give you my recommendation for going forward.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is something that I’ve been keeping an eye on for decades. For the most part, it was always on the fringe of the technology world and was only used in very specialized cases. 

But that is no longer the case. Instead, AI has gone mainstream and entire industries will either shrink dramatically or be eliminated due to AI.

I read an article recently that outlined how someone asked ChatGPT (the leading AI engine) what professions it thinks will be negatively affected the most. Here’s the list it produced

  1. Call center agents 
  2. Data entry clerks 
  3. Translators 
  4. Travel agents
  5. Receptionists 
  6. Copywriters 
  7. Journalists 
  8. Proofreaders 
  9. Market researchers 
  10. Teachers and Coaches 

Funeral Directors are not on the list, but items 6,7, and 8 definitely sound like the task of writing obituaries!

Can AI be used to write obituaries? Yes.

Should you add an AI-powered obituary writing function to your website? No.

Here’s why…

When you turn the task of obituary writing over to an AI tool, you eliminate yet another way a Funeral Director can be of value to a family. It’s another way a Funeral Director becomes irrelevant, and that’s a problem.

If you are going to leverage AI to write an obituary, I recommend keeping that as a tool for the Funeral Director. Let them collect the necessary information, return to their desk, and use AI to write the obituary, make some edits, and then present it to the family for their review.

The family doesn’t need to know that you used AI to do most of the writing. Just like when you read this newsletter, you would assume that I’m good at grammar, but in reality, I use to clean up my writing before you ever read it.

A better way to create impressive obituaries is for your Funeral Directors to produce them themselves. To learn the process, I highly recommend the training offered by Kitty Sheehan and Marc Cuddy at

One of the key elements of their training is the interview process that the Funeral Director takes a family through. In many ways, it is similar to what a Celebrant would do and helps to develop a personal relationship with the family.

Outsourcing obituary writing to AI feels impersonal. I suppose it’s ok if the Funeral Director is just an order taker who wants to finish every arrangement meeting as quickly as possible.

But if a Funeral Director wants to build a relationship with a family, writing a beautiful and healing obituary for them is a great way to start.

Don’t outsource obituary writing to AI if you value your relationship with the families you serve. Instead, learn how to write an obituary the family will cherish forever. Call the team at if you need help.

Until next time,


PS: I have no business relationship with The Healing Obituary. We’ve met, and I believe that they’re on to something. Plus, one of my most progressive clients brought them in to train his staff and highly recommended them.

PPS: This newsletter was NOT written by AI (nor will it ever be).


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