Advance Funeral Planning
program providing grief support, education and resources to families affected
by the death of a loved one; considered by some as an extension of the services
a funeral home provides at the time of need.
hydrolysis is a recently developed water-based dissolution process for human
remains that uses alkaline chemicals, heat, and sometimes agitation and/or
pressure to accelerate natural decomposition. Bone residue which remains is
similar to the volume customarily obtained after cremation; it is pulverized,
then made available to the family to retain in an urn or for disposition by
interment, scattering or other means.
container - typically heavy cardboard or chipboard - which does not meet the
standards of a burial casket and is used to hold human remains for cremation;
see also cremation container.
process of dividing cremated remains into portions for separate disposition.
For example, cremated remains could be divided into three portions, with one
portion placed in an urn in a columbarium, another portion scattered in a
favorite place and yet another carried in a locket.
name generally applied to an individual learning the embalming and funeral
directing profession under the supervision of a licensee.
meeting held between the funeral director and the family members of the
deceased to finalize funeral arrangements. During this meeting, the funeral
director will discuss the family's wishes and desires and prepare a contract
for the goods and services selected by the family. This meeting usually takes
place at the funeral home shortly after death has occurred; see also funeral
room at the funeral home used to make the necessary funeral arrangements with
the family of the deceased.
with a funeral director after a loved one has died to plan a funeral,
especially when a funeral has not been planned in advance.
A person who has suffered the death of a loved one. (v) Suffering the death
of a loved one.
stand on which a casket is placed; see also “catafalque.”
ritual of placing human remains in a grave; see also “interment.”
made especially for the deceased.
insurance policy used to pay for the funeral service and or merchandise; see
also funeral insurance.
Cash Advance Items
and services furnished by a third party and paid for by the funeral director on
one's behalf. These items are generally listed separately on the Statement of
Goods and Services and may include such things as honorariums, cemetery
charges, obituaries and death certificates.
container designed to encase human remains for burial; can be constructed of
various materials including steel, stainless steel, copper, bronze and/or wood.. There are also caskets that are "green" and biodegradable.
a friend or relative who is responsible for carrying the casket at a funeral.
Generally 6-8 individuals carry the casket; see also “pallbearer.”
placement of the body in the casket upon completion of embalming, dressing and
stand upon which the casketed remains rest while in state and during the
funeral service; see also “bier.”
area of ground set aside for burial or entombment of the deceased.
empty tomb or monument erected in memory of a person buried elsewhere.
Certified Death Certificate
legalized copy of the original death certificate, issued upon request of the
local or state government for the purpose of substantiating various claims by
the family of the deceased such as insurance and other death benefits.
large room of the funeral home in which the funeral or memorial service is
collapsible catafalque with wheels used for funerals.
six-sided container designed to encase human remains, usually constructed of
A room or building with niches for funeral urns to be stored.
the concluding rite of a funeral service or memorial service. It can take place at the funeral service, the back of the church, graveside or the crematorium.
public official whose duty is to investigate the cause of death if it appears
to be from other than natural causes, or if there was no physician in
attendance for a long time prior to death.
term specific to the funeral profession that refers to the utilization of
cosmetics to restore life-like appearance to the deceased.
remains of a human body after cremation, comprised of ash and bone fragments;
the term “cremated remains” is the preferred term.
reduction of human remains by intense heat and flame to ash and bone fragments.
casket made of combustible material, designed specifically for cremation; see
also “cremation container.”
containers, often constructed of cardboard or chipboard, which preserve the
dignity of remains prior to cremation and to assist with the placement of the
remains into the retort.
certificate issued by local government authorizing cremation of the deceased.
building that houses a retort; see also “retort.”
space in a mausoleum or in the ground where lawn crypts are placed to entomb
casketed human remains; see also “mausoleum” and “lawn crypt.”
legal document, signed by a medical professional or a coroner, certifying the
death of an individual.
person in whom all physical life has ceased; decedent.
disposition of human remains without a formal viewing or funeral ceremony; also
known as direct burial or direct cremation.
excavation or opening of an occupied burial site with regulatory and family
written authorization, and the removal of the remains to be re-interred in
means of laying human remains to rest; methods of disposition may include earth
burial, entombment in a crypt, cremation, etc.
who is trained and licensed in the surgical procedure of disinfecting or
preserving deceased human bodies by the injection or application of
preservatives and antiseptics.
process by which a trained and licensed embalmer chemically treats a body to
reduce the presence and growth of microorganisms, retard organic decomposition
and restore an acceptable physical appearance; embalming offers temporary
preservation of a deceased person's body and allows for funerals to be held
several days after the death has occurred by keeping the body in a viewable
placement of human remains in a crypt; see also “crypt.”
form of public speaking at funerals or memorials used to honor and pay respect
to the deceased.
person who gives a eulogy at a funeral or memorial service.
limousine used in the funeral procession by the immediate family; usually
provided by the funeral home.
room in the funeral home which allows the immediate family to have privacy
during a visitation or funeral service.
initial call of the funeral director to notify of the death and to arrange transfer from the place of death to the funeral home.
vehicle used to transport flowers from the funeral home to the church and/or
service, held with the body present, that commemorates the life of the
A person who serves as the
leader of a funeral service; may be an ordained member of the clergy or a lay
person who has received specialized training on rituals and funeral traditions.
Utilizing the services of a funeral celebrant who is a lay person can be an
option whether the service is intended to be of a religious nature or not,
depending on the type of the service desired.
motor vehicle designed and used for the conveyance of the casketed remains.
trained and licensed individual who provides support to the bereaved during
initial stages of their grief; arranges and directs funeral ceremonies;
arranges for the removal of the deceased from the place of death; prepares the
body according to the wishes of the survivors and requirements of the law;
secures information for legal documents; files death certificates and other
legal papers; assists survivors with filing claims for death benefits; helps
individuals adapt to changes in their lives following a death through after
care services. The terms "mortician" and "undertaker" have
fallen out of favor in many circles; "funeral director" is the
building used for the purpose of embalming, arranging and conducting funerals;
see also “mortuary.”
insurance policy which provides money for a funeral upon the death of the
person insured; see also “burial insurance.”
procession, usually in motor vehicles, from the church or chapel to the
cemetery; see also “cortege.”
in 1984 by the Federal Trade Commission, the Funeral Rule protects consumers'
rites conducted before the disposition of the dead human body; see
also “funeral” and “funeral rites.”
“prearranged funeral trust.”
General Price List
price list of all goods and services provided by a funeral home, including
disclosures required by the Federal Trade Commission; see “funeral rule.”
excavation in the earth for the purpose of burying the dead; see “interment.”
permanent outside container, generally consisting of a concrete box and a lid.
It is not intended to demonstrate any sealed protection to the casket; see also
“outer burial container.”
method of identifying the occupant of a particular grave, usually including
such data as the name of the individual, date of birth and date of death.
Green Burial (Green Funeral)
natural or green burial, the body is buried, without embalming, in a natural
setting; any shroud or casket that is used must be biodegradable, nontoxic and
of sustainable material; traditional standing headstones are not permitted.
Instead, flat rocks, plants or trees may serve as grave markers. Some
cemeteries use GPS to mark the locations of gravesites. A “natural or green
burial” may also simply mean burial without embalming, in a biodegradable
casket without a vault, when permitted by a cemetery.
sorrow caused by the loss of a loved one or close friend.
specially designed vehicle provided by the funeral home to transport remains;
see also funeral coach.
Honorary Casket Bearer
person who is accorded the honor of escorting the casket, similar to a casket
bearer, but does not actually carry the casket; also called an honorary
custom of presenting the deceased for viewing by mourners and others, prior to
or after the funeral service.
placement of the deceased in a grave.
“opening and closing fee.”
placement of cremated remains in an urn.
to hold a small portion of cremated remains, keepsakes come in a variety of
styles, including, miniature urns, jewelry, photo frames and other suitable
objects. The cremated remains are placed in the keepsake and distributed among immediate
family members. Also known as memento urns.
permanent underground crypt usually constructed of reinforced concrete or
similar material installed in multiple units for the entombment of human
chauffeured automobile designed to seat six or more persons behind the driver's
seat; generally used to transport the immediate family from the place of the
funeral service to the cemetery.
mechanism used for lowering the casket into the grave.
public or private building with crypts for the entombment of casketed remains
or cremated remains; see also “crypt.”
A medically qualified public officer whose duty it is to investigate deaths occurring under unusual or suspicious circumstances, to perform post-mortems and to initiate inquests.
urns designed to hold a small portion of cremated remains; cremated remains are
placed in memento urns and distributed among immediate family members.
monument or grave marker identifying a grave or graves; a nameplate or
inscription identifying a crypt or niche; a marker, garden bench, statue, etc.,
placed in a meaningful location to honor the dead.
service, held without the body present, that commemorates the life of the
made of granite, monuments can take on various forms; they are engraved with
the names of the deceased and dates of birth and death; depending on the size
of the stone, anniversary dates, names of children, favorite sayings, poems,
scriptures or songs may be included; sometimes called a headstone, tombstone or
study of the dead human body and the processes related to care and preparation
for final disposition.
To feel or express sorrow or grief.
space in a wall or structure to hold urns containing cremated remains. See also
outdoor garden containing structures with niches.
notice of a person's death published in a newspaper; usually contains
biographical details and information about funeral or memorial services; if the
funeral home has a website, the obituaries can also be found there.
person who leads or officiates at a funeral or memorial service; clergy.
Opening and Closing Fee
fee for the digging and refilling of the grave; see also “interment fee.”
Outer Burial Container
rigid container that protects caskets from the weight of the soil; they are
often required by cemeteries because they prevent the soil from collapsing into
the grave following the interment; also called a vault or grave liner.
public expression of sympathy for another person’s grief; typically, these
tributes are posted by family and friends at the deceased person’s online
obituary located on the funeral home website or other location.
a friend or relative who is responsible for carrying the casket at a funeral;
see also “casket bearer.”
Perpetual Care Trust Funds
portion of the burial plot cost set aside in a trust fund for its ongoing care.
area of ground in a cemetery used for the interment of human remains. The term
includes and applies to one, or more than one, adjoining grave and or space;
one, or more than one, adjoining crypt; or one, or more than one, adjoining
funeral that has been arranged and paid for prior to a person's death; see also
Prearranged Funeral Trust
trust fund in which money is held until needed to pay for funeral costs.
“funeral insurance” or “burial insurance.”
room in the funeral home where remains are prepared for viewing; preparation
includes embalming, clothing the body, applying cosmetics, styling the hair and
placing the remains in a casket.
process of working with a funeral director or preplanning consultant to plan one's funeral in advance of
death; the process includes selecting the type of funeral or memorial service,
methods of disposition, funeral merchandise, cemetery plot locations,
memorials, songs, casket bearers, etc.; many people who preplan their funeral
services also prepay for them through an insurance policy, a trust or other
investment means. Also referred to as, “advance funeral planning.”
book made available by the funeral director for the recording of names of
people visiting the funeral home to pay their respects to the deceased, as well
as those in attendance at the funeral or memorial service.
chamber in which a body is cremated.
physical process of spreading cremated remains over land or water in a random
manner, with the intended purpose of final disposition of such cremated
remains. While there are few prohibitions against scattering, families are
advised to be aware of local ordinances and to obtain permission from
landowners before scattering.
room in the funeral home where caskets, urns, outer burial containers and other
related items are displayed for individuals or families to select for purchase
while planning a funeral or memorial service; also known as a “display room.”
Statement of Funeral Goods and
itemized list of the goods and services the consumer has selected during the
arrangement conference. The Statement allows consumers to evaluate their
selections and make any desired changes.
room in a funeral home where visitations are held; the term is derived from a
body lying in state for viewing by friends and family; see also visitation
who have outlived the deceased, especially family members.
chamber excavated from earth or rock specifically for receiving human remains.
permit issued by a local or state authority allowing a body to be transported
to the place of burial or cremation, usually out-of-state.
term used following the Civil War to describe those who "undertook"
the preparation of the dead for final rites and burial, which many times
included construction of the coffin. The term undertaker has been replaced by
the term funeral director. See “funeral director.”
container designed to hold cremated remains. Urns can be made of wood, metal,
glass or other natural materials.
garden containing urn burial sites.
permanent placement of an urn into a niche or urn burial site.
permanent outside container with an interior encasement, made of concrete,
plastic, fiberglass or stone materials wherein the container holding the
cremated remains are placed.
permanent outside container of grade better than a grave liner or concrete box,
which is sealed and affords protection to the casket. See also “outer burial
memorial video created with a compilation of photographs or home movies to
honor the life of a loved one; can be played during the visitation or funeral
Roman Catholic religious service held on the eve of the funeral service; may
include the recitation of the Rosary.
gathering held with the deceased's body present; a time for family and friends
to express condolences and support one another; also called a viewing, wake or
room in a funeral home where the body lies prior to the funeral service so
people may view the deceased; see also “state room.”
innovative technology that allows family and friends to participate in the
funeral or memorial service from a remote location via streaming video over the
Internet; this video can be viewed online or archived for delayed viewing. It
is a unique solution for family and friends who cannot attend the funeral or
memorial service in person.