Personal - A-Z Funeral Plan Glossary

 

 

 

Administrator

Any court appointed person or body put in charge of the estate of a person who has passed on without a will.

 

Arrangement Room

A room in the funeral home set aside for the bereaved family to make funeral arrangements.

 

Attorney in Fact

Any person granted the power of attorney.

 

Beneficiary

Any recipient of the proceeds of a will or insurance policy.

 

Bequest

Any gift of property made in a will.

 

Bereaved

The immediate family of the deceased.

 

Burial Permit

Sometimes required for human remains to be buried or cremated. Usually acquired by the mortuary or crematory, it is not required for the scattering of cremated ashes.

 

Casket

A casket is any container designed for holding human remains.  It may be made of wood, metal or fibreglass. They may also be referred to as "coffins” in the funeral industry.

 

Catafalque

The stand on which the casket rests while in state and during the funeral service.

 

Cemetery

Ground for burial, in which final aspects of the funeral ceremony are often held.

 

Cortege

The funeral procession.

 

Codicil

An amendment to a will changing the original provisions.

 

Columbarium

Structure or building designed for the housing of urns of cremated remains, in niches.

 

Contest

Any legal challenge to or question of the validity of a will.

 

Cremation

A regulated process using intense heat in a chamber to burn human remains. It typically takes 2 to 4 hours.

 

Crematory

A building with a furnace for the purpose of cremating human remains.

 

Crypt

Technically, any chamber that holds a casket and human remains. More narrowly, an individual chamber in a mausoleum.

 

Death Certificate

A legal document, signed by a coroner or other medical health professional, certifying the death of an individual. The death certificate is used for many legal processes pertaining to death, from arrangement for interment to the settlement of estate assets.

 

Disinter

See exhume.

 

Display Room

A room in a funeral home set aside for viewing available caskets, urns, grave liners, etc.

 

Disposition

Refers to any manner in which remains will be finally taken care of, including ground burial, ash scattering of cremated remains and all other forms of placement.

 

Embalming

Embalming is the procedure using chemicals, such as formaldehyde, to temporarily preserve human remains.

 

Eulogy

A eulogy is a form of public speaking at funerals used to honour and praise the deceased.

 

Escheat

The state takes over the estate if there are no beneficiaries or heirs.

 

Executor/Executrix

Male or female named as the person who administers an estate.

 

Exhume

To dig up human remains, possibly for medical or legal investigation.

 

Funeral Director

The professional who prepares the body for burial, supervises burial and other services, and maintains a funeral home for these purposes. Also called a mortician or undertaker.

 

Funeral Insurance

Funeral insurance is an insurance policy designed to cover any costs directly related to your funeral.

 

Funeral Home

See mortuary.

 

Funeral Service

Ceremony, religious or secular, in which the bereaved say goodbye to the deceased in various ways, before the remains are permanently interred.

 

Funeral Spray

A large bouquet (25 or more) of cut flowers sent to the residence or the funeral home as a tribute to the deceased.

 

Grave Liner

A box or receptacle made of concrete or other durable material into which the casket is placed to prevent the ground from collapsing.

 

Green Burial

Green burial also called direct burial is the process of burying a body without the use of chemical preservation in a simple container to help preserve the earth.

 

In State

The custom of presenting the deceased for viewing by mourners and others, prior to or after the funeral service.

 

Interment

The act of burying a dead body in a grave.

 

Intestate

Having left behind no legal will.

 

Inurnment

Placing cremation ashes in an urn.

 

Liabilities

Remaining debts and mortgages, as they apply to the administering of an estate.

 

Life Insurance Trust

A trust funded from money provided from life insurance.

 

Living Trust

A trust that has been established during the life of the trustee.

 

Living Will

A legal document that details the wishes of an individual concerning his or her medical care, especially with respect to life-sustaining technology and resuscitation.

 

Mausoleum

A structure or building, often on cemetery grounds, that holds caskets and remains.

 

Morgue

These are usually municipally operated places, where bodies found dead are held pending identification by next of kin.

 

Mortuary

Any licensed, regulated business that provides for the care, planning and preparation of human remains for their final resting place. A mortuary usually arranges and conducts funeral and memorial services, embalming and other services such as the sale of caskets. Also called a funeral home or funeral service provider.

 

Niche

In a columbarium, an individual chamber wherein an urn is placed.

 

Opening and Closing Fees

Cemetery fees for the digging and refilling of a grave.

 

Pallbearers

Individuals (close family members in most areas of the continent; hired, in other areas) who are asked to carry the casket.

 

Perpetual Care Trust Funds

A certain portion of the cost of a burial plot is set-aside in a trust fund for its ongoing care (usually restricted to grounds keeping, such as lawn cutting, etc.)

 

Pre-need or Pre-planning

Pre-planning is arranging all aspects of your funeral (especially financing) in advance.

 

Probate

The court process of proving the validity of a will.

 

Remains

The body of the deceased.

 

Reposing Room

A room of the funeral home where the body rests until the funeral service.

 

Right of Survivorship

Occurs when a joint property owner has provided for the passing of all property into the hands of the surviving joint owner. This will forego the need for probate.

 

Testator

A person making a valid will.

 

Trust

Usually a fund, though it may be made up of other property. It is held and managed by one person for the benefit of another (or others).

 

Urn

Any container made for holding cremated human remains.

 

Vault

A solid "container," usually made of concrete, to prevent leakage from the casket into the soil. Many insiders in the industry advise that a grave liner is sufficient and a vault does not really do what is purported to.

 

Visitation

Usually held at the funeral home, this is a scheduled time when the body is on display (if appropriate) and friends and family pay respects to the dead and visit with each other.

 

Wake

A wake is a traditional watch over the deceased usually conducted by family members and close friends. "wake" and "watch" are etymologically related.

 

Will

A will is a legal document stating the intentions of the deceased concerning the dispersal of their belongings, the care of their remains and other relevant matters.

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