Funeral Glossary

 

Glossary of Common Funeral Terms

 

Definitions and meanings of Common Funeral Terms

 

 

ALTERNATIVE CONTAINER

 

An Alternative container is just that- a container to house human remains that is not a standard casket or Urn. An alternative container is typically a non-metal receptacle or enclosure, without ornamentation or a fixed interior lining and is made of cardboard, pressed-wood, composition materials (with or without an outside covering), or pouches of canvas or other materials.

 

 

ARRANGEMENT CONFERENCE

 

An arrangement conference is the meeting occurring either at need or preneed between the seller and the purchaser where funeral and cemetery merchandise and services are discussed.

 

 

ARRANGEMENT CONFERENCE FEE

 

This is the fee charged for the arrangement conference.

 

 

AT NEED

 

The time of, or immediately following, death.

 

AUTHORIZING AGENT

 

A person or company who is lawfully authorized to control the final disposition of human remains.

 

BELOW-GROUND CRYPT

 

A Below ground crypt is a pre-placed enclosed chamber, usually constructed of reinforced concrete, and is poured in place or is a pre-cast unit installed in large numbers, either side by side or multiple depth, and covered by earth or sod and known also as a lawn crypt or turf-top crypt.

 

BENEFICIARY

 

A Beneficiary is the person who benefits from an act, such as death, for whom a prepaid contract is entered into or the recipient of a life insurance policy.

 

BEREAVEMENT

 

Bereavement is the state of sorrow or loss over a loved one. It is part of the mourning process.

 

BURIAL

 

Burial refers to the placement of human remains in a grave.

 

 

 

BURIAL PERMIT

 

All burials require a permit issued by a local regulatory authority authorizing final disposition of human remains.

 

 

CASH ADVANCE

 

A Cash advance (in relation to deaths and funerals) refers to  any item obtained from a third party and paid for by the funeral provider on the behalf of the contract buyer. Cash advance items may include, but are not limited to, cemetery or crematory services, pallbearers, public transportation, clergy honoraria, flowers, musicians or singers, nurses, obituary notices, gratuities, and death certificates.

 

 

CASKET

 

A Casket is a rigid container designed to hold human remains and is generally constructed of wood or metal and lined with fabric. Caskets range in price, size, color, and features, including symbolic ornamentation.

 

CEMETERY (cemeteries)

 

A Cemetery is a designated area in which the deceased are buried and remembered. Most are  established, maintained, managed, operated, or improved by a cemetery authority (see below).

 

 

CEMETERY AUTHORITY

 

Any person (as defined) that owns, manages or controls a cemetery or conducts a cemetery business.

 

 

CEMETERY PURPOSES

 

All business and activities necessary to establish, maintain, operate, or improve a cemetery; inter human remains, and the care, preservation, and embellishment of a cemetery.

 

CIVIL CELEBRANT

 

A person trained in the art of overseeing non-theological based ceremonies; also functions as master of ceremonies for funerals and memorial services.

 

 

COFFIN

 

A container to house human remains. See ‘Casket’.

 

COFFIN CLOTH

 

A coffin cloth is a type of cloth used inside the casket.

 

COLUMBARIUM

 

A Columbarium is a pre-manufactured wall for the placement of standard-sized urns

 

COMMINGLING

 

The mixing of cremated remains of more than one decedent. For example, a husband and wife or mother and child whose remains are combined for placement in one receptacle.

 

COMMITAL SERVICE

 

The service that takes place at the gravesite.

 

CPL

 

Casket Price List

 

CREMATED REMAINS CONTAINER

 

A receptacle in which cremated remains are placed awaiting final disposition

 

CREMATED REMAINS

 

The bone fragments remaining after the cremation process, which may include the residue of any foreign materials that were cremated with the human remains (clothing, etc)

 

CREMATION 

 

The process of burning a dead body (corpse), into a natural state of ashes.  The process is completed through intense heat and evaporation, in a specifically designed furnace or retort, and may include any other mechanical or thermal process where the bone fragments are further reduced in size or quantity. Cremation is a process and is not a method of final disposition.

 

 

CREMATORY AUTHORITY

 

Any person (as defined) that owns or controls a crematory.

 

 

CREMATION CHAMBER

 

The enclosed space in which the cremation of human remains is performed.

 

CREMATION CONTAINER

 

An enclosed combustible container- rigid and leak-resistant that is designed for the encasement of human remains prior to and during cremation.

 

 

CREMATION PERMIT 

 

A legal document issued by a local regulatory authority giving permission for cremation of the deceased.

 

CREMATORY

 

A location or building containing a furnace or retort used or intended to be used for the cremation of human remains.

 

 

CREMATORY OPERATOR

 

Any person (as defined) who conducts or performs a cremation

 

DEATH CERTIFICATE

 

A legal document containing vital statistics pertaining to the life and death of the deceased. Death certificates are required for beneficiaries to claim insurance and Social Security benefits.

 

DECEASED/DECEDENT

 

One who is no longer living.

 

DEDICATION

 

The process by which a legal description of a cemetery site is filed with a declaration that the property is to be used exclusively for cemetery purposes

 

DIRECT DISPOSER

 

A person (as defined) authorized by law to practice direct disposition (see below)

 

DIRECT DISPOSITION

 

Any final disposition of human remains, without formal viewing, visitation, or ceremony with the body present.

 

 

DISINTERMENT

 

The act of removing human remains that have been interred.

 

ELEGIES

 

A mournful lament or poem, often recited at funeral services or memorials.

 

EMBALMER

 

One authorized by law to engage in embalming (see below)

 

EMBALMING

 

The procedure where human remains are chemically treated by injection for temporary preservation. This is generally performed for viewing purposes.

 

ENCASEMENT

 

The placement of the human remains in a rigid container, including but not limited to, a casket or urn

 

ENDOWMENT CARE

 

The maintenance and repair of everything in a cemetery. May be referred to as endowed care, perpetual care, improvement care, permanent care, etc

 

ENDOWMENT CARE TRUST FUND

 

An irrevocable trust fund set aside by law with a trustee, with the income to provide for the endowment care of the cemetery

 

ENTOMBMENT

 

The act of placing human remains in a mausoleum crypt

 

 

EPITAPH

 

The inscription on a tombstone or headstone.

 

EULOGIST

 

The person who performs the eulogy at a funeral or memorial service.

 

EULOGY

 

A eulogy is a speech written in praise of one who is deceased.

 

FINAL DISPOSITION

 

The lawful disposal of human remains whether by interment, burial at sea, scattering, etc

 

FUNERAL

 

The rites held commemorating the deceased with the human remains present.

 

FUNERAL DIRECTING

 

The act of conducting funerals and counseling with survivors and preparing human remains, other than by embalming, for the interment or other means of disposition, may include the management and supervision of all operations in a funeral establishment.

 

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

 

One authorized by law to engage in funeral directing. This person  oversees all arrangements relating to the funeral service, burial process and paperwork of a deceased person; also often provides counseling and care giving for grieving families.

 

FUNERAL ESTABLISHMENT

 

A place of business used in the care, planning, and preparation for final disposition or transportation of human remains.

 

FUNERAL HOME or TRIBUTE CENTER

 

A location to mourn and cry over the celebration of a life lived and the recognition of that person's death. Usually a quiet, reverent space that offers solace and comfort

 

FUNERAL RULE

 

Legislation to protect consumers with regard to funeral goods and services developed by the FTC.

 

GOBO

 

A light projector with names or inscriptions emanating from it.

 

GPL

 

General Price List. This is provided during at need or preneed consultations.

 

 

 

GRAVE SPACE

 

A space of ground in a cemetery that is used or intended to be used for in ground burial.

 

GRIEF

 

A feeling of inexplicable sorrow often following the loss of a loved one. Grief periods vary from person to person, but in some cases can last for years. Professional counseling should be sought if grief is interfering with daily activities for an extended period of time.

 

GUARANTEED PRICE PREPAID CONTRACT

 

A prepaid contract where the seller agrees to receive from the purchaser a definite purchase price as payment in full for future funeral services.

 

HOLDING FACILITY

 

An area within or adjacent to the crematory, which is a facility designated for the temporary housing and storage of human remains prior to the cremation.

 

HUMAN REMAINS

 

The body of the deceased and includes the body in any stage of decomposition and/or cremated remains.

 

INTERMENT

 

The final disposition of human remains by burial, entombment, or inurnment.

 

INTERMENT RIGHT

 

The right to inter (place) human remains in a specific location in the cemetery.

 

 

INTERMENT RIGHT OWNER

 

The person (as defined) who lawfully possess an interment right (see above).

 

INTERMENT SPACE

 

A space intended for the final disposition of human remains including, but not limited to, a grave space, mausoleum crypt, niche, and below-ground crypt.

 

INURNMENT

 

The act of placing cremated remains in a receptacle including, but not limited to, an urn and depositing it in a niche.

 

MAUSOLEUM

 

A chamber or structure used or intended to be used for entombment

 

MAUSOLEUM CRYPT

 

A chamber of a mausoleum of sufficient size for the entombment of human remains.

 

 

 

MEMORIAL

 

The monument intended to commemorate and honor the deceased.

 

MEMORIAL CARE

 

Any care provided or to be provided for the general maintenance of memorials including, but not limited to, resetting or repairing or replacing damaged memorials.

 

MEMORIAL RETAILER

 

Any person offering or selling memorials or related items to the public.

 

MEMORIAL SERVICE

 

A ceremony commemorating the deceased without the human remains present.

 

MEMORIALIZATION

 

Any permanent system designed to mark or record the names and other data pertaining to the deceased.

 

MEMOROLOGIST

 

A great event that captures the moment and the imagination of its attendees so that it becomes an event worth remembering. Coined by Richard Aaron for use in the special event marketing arena.

 

MEMORY BOARD

 

A poster board or display consisting of photos of the deceased strategically placed during the funeral for viewing by mourners.

 

MERCHANDISE

 

Any personal property offered or sold by any seller for use in connection with the funeral, final disposition, memorialization, or interment of human remains.

 

MUMMIFICATION

 

The modern day art of creating mummiforms, or ‘mummys’. Average cost as of this writing equals $67,000.00.

 

NFDA

 

The National Funeral Directors Association- the governing association for Funeral Directors in the US.

 

NICHE

 

A space usually within a columbarium used for inurnment of cremated remains

 

 

 

NON-GUARANTEED PRICE PREPAID CONTRACT

 

A prepaid contract whereby the seller reserves the right to assess additional fees in the future over and above the purchase price stated in the prepaid contract

 

OBITUARY

 

The published notice informing the public of a death with the time and location of a funeral/tribute along with a description of the deceased.

 

 

OPENING AND CLOSING

 

The process of making an interment ready for the interment of human remains and the subsequent closing of the interment space after the interment has been performed.

 

OUTER BURIAL CONTAINER

 

A container which is designed for placement in the grave space around the casket or the urn including, but not limited to, containers commonly known as burial vaults, grave boxes, and grave liners.

 

PERSONALIZATION

 

The act of customizing a memorial service, funeral, casket or other item or service unique to the deceased.

 

PREARRANGEMENT

 

The term applied to completing the details for selection of merchandise or services on a preneed basis, which may or may not include provisions for pre-funding or prepayment.

 

PREDEVELOPED

 

Designated areas or buildings within a cemetery that have been mapped and planned for future construction but are not yet completed.

 

 

PREDEVELOPED INTERMENT SPACE

 

An interment space that is planned for future construction but is not yet completed.

 

PREDEVELOPED INTERMENT SPACE TRUST FUND

 

The funds required by law to be held in trust until the predeveloped interment spaces are completed.

 

PRE-FUND

 

The term applied to completing the financial details of a prearrangement, which include provisions for funding or prepayment. Pre-Funding your funeral simply means you are making the arrangements and paying for it while you are still living.

 

PRE-NEED or PRE-ARAANGE

 

Planning your funeral details and in some cases, paying for it (see Pre-Fund) while you are living.

 

PRENEED

 

Any time prior to death.

 

PREPAID CONTRACT

 

A written contract to purchase merchandise or services from the seller on a preneed basis

 

PREPAID CONTRACT TRUST FUND

 

Setting aside a predetermined amount of money to be used for your future funeral arrangements. The funds received pursuant to a prepaid contract which are required by law to be held in trust until the merchandise or services are purchased.

 

PRE-PLAN

 

The term applied to prearrangements that do not include provisions for funding or prepayment.

 

PROVIDER

 

A person (as defined), who may or may not be the seller, who will actually provide the merchandise and services under the terms of a pre-funded prearrangement

 

PURCHASE PRICE

 

The amount paid by the purchaser for merchandise and services purchased under a prepaid contract.

 

PURCHASER

 

The person (as defined) who purchases a prepaid contract either on its behalf or on behalf of a third party beneficiary

 

REGISTER BOOK

 

The book that one signs when they arrive at the funeral or tribute. It also represents an obligation to appear on behalf of the survivors

 

REGULATORY AUTHORITY

 

The person empowered by law with statutory oversight over the funeral industry

 

REINTERMENT

 

The act of interring human remains that have been disinterred

 

REMEMBERANCE RECEPTION

 

The new phrase to describe 'viewing'

 

RESIDUE

 

Cremated remains, which are imbedded in cracks and uneven spaces of the cremation chamber or in the cremated remains container that cannot be removed through manual contact with sweeping or scraping equipment.

 

SCATTERING

 

The final disposition of cremated remains by lawful dispersion. Many people choose to have their ashes scattered at sea or in another meaningful location.

 

SELLER

 

Any person (as defined) offering or selling merchandise or services on a preneed basis including, but not limited to, funeral establishments, cemetery authorities, crematory authorities, memorial retailers, direct disposers, etc.

 

SERVICES

 

Any services which may be used to care for and prepare human remains for burial, cremation, or other final disposition; and arrange, supervise, or conduct the funeral ceremony or the final disposition of human remains.

 

SOLICITATION

 

Contact by a seller to a prospective purchaser for the purpose of selling merchandise or services on a preneed basis.

 

SPECIAL CARE

 

Any care provided or to be provided, that is supplemental to or in excess of endowment care, in accordance with the specific directions of any donor of funds for such purposes

 

SUCCESSOR-IN-INTEREST

 

A person (as defined) who lawfully follows another in ownership or control of property or rights

 

TIME OF NEED (see at need)

 

The time immediately following a death.

 

TRUSTEE

 

Any person, state or national bank, trust company, or federally insured savings and loan lawfully appointed as fiduciary over funds deposited by one or more purchasers of a prepaid contract or deposited pursuant to an endowment care trust fund; not be confused with a board of trustees

 

UNCLAIMED CREMATED REMAINS

 

Cremated remains which are unclaimed for a prescribed period of time from the cemetery authority, crematory authority, direct disposer, or funeral establishment

 

URN

 

A container for the encasement of cremated remains. Many urns resemble vases or statues.

 

VIEWING

 

The process of viewing a deceased body- whether for identification purposes or during memorial or funeral services.

 

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