Who Does The Family Need To Send Thank You Notes To After A Funeral?

Who does the family need to send thank you notes to after a funeral? Acknowledgment cards or thank you notes should be sent for any of act of kindness. A family does not always have to send a written thank-you...

A family does not always have to send a written thank-you note. As a general rule of thumb, it's not necessary to send written thank-yous when you receive preprinted sympathy cards that don't have personal messages added in, and it's not necessary to send written thank-you notes to everyone who visits the funeral home. It's when people do something beyond that-when they come over to visit, bring flowers, make charitable contributions in the deceased person's honor, handwrite their condolences, etc.-that etiquette requires that you acknowledge them with a personal written note.


Peggy Post, the great-granddaughter-in-law of the famous Emily Post, writes in Emily Post's Etiquette 17th Edition that "handwritten notes of condolence should always be acknowledged (by the recipient, if possible)." However, "a pre-printed card with no personal message added does not require a thank-you note."




Robin Thompson, owner of Etiquette Network and the Robin Thompson Charm School, says, "You do not have to send a thank-you or an acknowledgment card if someone just sent a sympathy card, but you always can if you want to." Anything extra, however, should be acknowledged in writing. "I've noticed sometimes people send a sympathy card, and inside they enclose an old photo of the deceased when they were young, then yes, I think you should acknowledge those things. But just for a sympathy card or even someone who attended the visitation, you don't really need to do anything."

Post writes that you should always send thank-you notes for "flowers, mass cards, contributions to charities, and acts of kindness." Thompson says that "acknowledgment cards or thank-you notes should be sent for any of act of kindness. If someone came over and sat with you, sent flowers or food, or made a donation or contribution to charity--all those people should receive personal handwritten thank-you notes."

Thompson says, "If you are using preprinted cards, you should add at least one sentence to personally express your gratitude. Sending out acknowledgment cards is part of the healing process for the family." Post writes, "A personal message on a fold-over card is preferable to any printed card, and it takes only a moment to write 'Thank you for your beautiful flowers' or 'Thank you for being so kind.'" She adds that if you do use preprinted cards, you should add a personal message.

Posts writes that letters are "customarily" written to "pallbearers, honorary pallbearers, and ushers." But, she writes, it's not necessary to acknowledge in writing visits to the funeral home.

If a bereaved person has a long list of thank-you notes that need to be written, and if he or she doesn't feel up to the task, Post suggests that a family member or a close friend write the notes on the bereaved person's behalf. There is also no time limit on when the thank-you notes need to be sent out, so if someone is feeling overwhelmed by the task, they can take it more slowly..

The thank-you notes can be short. Writing one or two or three sentences is fine.

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