Funeral & Cremation Terms

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There are currently 82 names in this directory
Advance Planning
The act of making arrangements for a funeral, memorial, ceremony or other service/plans prior to death. Advance Planning can involve simply recording one's wishes (Pre-Planning), or making financial arrangements (Pre-Paying). Also known as "Pre-Need." 
Aerial Scattering
A form of scattering ashes that involves the use of planes, hot air balloons, or other airborne devices to disperse the cremated ashes while in active flight.
Affirmation or Celebration of Life Service
An alternate type of service that is highly personalized and follows no standard set of rules. It may be religious or non-religious, and can vary widely in content and format, depending on the plans and wishes of the deceased and their family.
Aftercare
A term used to refer to the various services (final arrangements) that are available from a funeral home or crematory following the death of a loved one.
Alternative Container
A container made of unfinished wood, fiberboard, pressed wood, or composition materials,which lacks fine finish or ornamentation. Alternative containers are often chosen for cremations due to their combustible nature. Alternative containers may also be the preferred container for direct burials or green burials
Arrangement Conference
A meeting between the Funeral Director and the family of the deceased for the purpose of setting up funeral arrangments
Ashes
Also known as "cremated remains," the ashes are the material that remains after a body has been cremated.
Autopsy
Following death, an autopsy is a complete examination of the body by a doctor to determine the cause of death.
Burial
The placing of the body in the ground following death
Burial Flag
A flag which is furnished by the VA to honor the memory of the veteran’s service to his country, and is displayed during the funeral of the veteran.
Burial Permit
The burial permit is a legal document used for used to authorize burial, cremation, scattering or disinterment. The funeral director usually obtains the burial permit on behalf of the family.
Casket
A container designed for human remains, usually constructed of wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic. It is often ornamented and lined with fabric.
Cemetery
Land that is reserved for graves, tombs, or cremation urns. Cemeteries may be privately or publicly owned.
Closed Casket
A visitation where the casket is closed, and the body is not available for viewing.
Columbarium
A structure that is used to house the cremated remains (ashes) of the deceased person. It may be either freestanding, or part of a chapel or mausoleum.
Committal Service
The portion of a ceremony that involves the speaking of last words just prior to burial
Communal Pet Cremation
A method of pet cremation in which the bodies of several animals are placed in the cremation chamber and cremated at the same time. The ashes of all the pets are mingled during the process. Ashes are not returned to the owner if this method is chosen. Also known as "group pet cremation."
Community Pet Cremation
A method of pet cremation in which the bodies of several animals are placed in the cremation chamber and cremated at the same time. The ashes of all the pets are mingled during the process. Ashes are not returned to the owner if this method is chosen. Also known as "group pet cremation."
Country Burial
A term used in the pet cremation and burial industry which refers to mass or communal burial of the bodies of deceased animals. Country burial may or may not involve cremation.
Cremains
A term occasionally used instead of "cremated remains" or "ashes".
Cremated Remains
Also known as "ashes," the cremated remains are the material that remains after a body has been cremated.
Cremation
A method used to reduce the dead body of a human or animal down to its basic elements. The most common method of cremation involves incineration at high temperatures.
Cremation Jewelry
A special type of memorial jewelry which includes a small amount of the cremated remains (ashes) of the deceased.
Crematory or Crematorium
The facility where cremation of a human or animal body takes place.
Death Benefits
When a person dies, the survivors may be eligible for Social Security benefits and/or Veterans Benefits.
Death Certificate
A death certificate is required by law after a person dies. Two parties must complete the death certificate – a medical professional (either a physician, coroner, or medical examiner) who will certify the death by noting the cause of death, time of death and the identity of the deceased; and a licensed funeral director, who will confirm that the body was properly handled.
Direct Burial
A simple burial with no viewing or visitation, which usually involves only the transportation, care, of burial of the remains.
Direct Cremation
A simple cremation with no ceremony, viewing or visitation.
Disposition
This term refers to the placement of cremated or whole remains in their final resting place.
Embalming
The process of temporarily preserving a body through the use of chemical injections and topical applications to maintain a life-like appearance through the viewing and funeral ceremonies. Embalming should be considered a temporary measure that provides the family with time to complete funeral preparations, make travel plans, etc., rather than a long-term preservation of the body.
Eulogy
A speech delivered at a funeral service in honor of the deceased. The person delivering the eulogy is usually a close friend, member of the clergy, or family member.member, a close friend, or other person of signficance to the deceased.
FTC Funeral Rule
The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), makes it possible for you to choose only those goods and services you want or need and to pay only for those you select, whether you are making arrangements when a death occurs or in advance.
Funeral
A ceremony that honors, celebrates, and remembers the life of a person who has died.
Funeral Director
At a funeral home, the staff member who works with a family to arrange burial, cremation or other funeral services.
Funeral Escort
Law enforcement or other individuals who escort a funeral procession to the cemetery.
Funeral Procession
After the funeral service is finished, the remains of the deceased are transported to the final resting place as part of a funeral procession made up of two or more vehicles.
Funeral Service
The services which may be used to care for and prepare human remains for burial, cremation or other final disposition. Funeral Services also include the arranging, supervising or conducting the funeral ceremony
General Price List
The General Price List (GPL) is a written, itemized price list that every funeral home is required by law to provide to consumers upon request. It lists all the items and services that the funeral home offers, along with the cost of each item or service.
Grave
A place in the ground that is used to bury the remains of the deceased.
Grave Marker
Grave markers, commonly known as headstones, tombstones, or gravestones, are placed over the grave to mark the resting place of the deceased
Graveside Service
Also known as a “committal service,” the graveside service is held at the gravesite before the body or urn is buried, or in the crematory chapel prior to cremation
Green Funeral
A funeral designed around concepts, practices, and options that are considered "eco-friendly," for example, the use of biodegradeable materials for burial containers, etc.
Hearse
A vehicle designed to transport the deceased as part of the funeral ceremony and procession.
IAOPCC
As stated on their website, “The International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (IAOPCC) is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing the standards, ethics, and professionalism of pet cemeteries and crematories worldwide.
Immediate Burial
The direct burial of the deceased usually performed without embalming, or a formal viewing, visitation, or ceremony. A simple graveside ceremony may be held instead.
Individual Pet Cremation
This term can refer to one of two methods of cremation. Most commonly, the pet will be placed alone in the cremation chamber, and cremated. However, some cremation providers may define “individual” cremation as placing the bodies of several pets in the cremation chamber, but keeping them individually separated through some physical means such as clay bricks, separate cremation trays, etc. Even though the bodies are physically separated, some unavoidable mingling of the ashes of the cremated pets is possible when this method is used.
Inflation-Proof Contract
An Inflation Proof Contract must be funded 100% in advance. The prices of services and merchandise are guaranteed to be covered at the time of need, despite any inflationary increases.
Interment
The act of placing a body in a grave or tomb
Irrevocable Contract
An irrevocable contract must be used solely for the purpose of paying for funeral expenses. Most people choose to make their pre-funding irrevocable because they want to ensure that the money will be there to pay for their funeral in the future.
Keepsake Jewelry
Keepsake jewelry, also known as funeral, memorial, or remembrance jewelry, is a deeply personal type of jewelry that honors the deceased and provides the wearer with a tangible remembrance of their loved one that can be kept close at all times.
Lump-Sum Death Benefit
A one-time death benefit of $255 from the Social Security Administration. This lump sum payment is made to the surviving spouse or child if they meet certain requirements.
Mass Card
In the Catholic religion, a mass card indicates that a Mass for the deceased has been arranged.
Mausoleum
A building that is used to house the casketed remains of a person above ground, instead of burial in a grave.
Memorial Jewelry
Memorial jewelry, also known as funeral, keepsake, or remembrance jewelry, is a deeply personal type of jewelry that honors the deceased and provides the wearer with a tangible remembrance of their loved one that can be kept close at all times.
Memorial Service
A ceremony held to honor the deceased without the body being present. In the case of cremation, the urn containing the cremated remains may or may not be present.
Natural Burial
Also known as “green burial”, natural burial practices are characterized by their simplicity and natural aspects. Advocates of natural burial believe in letting nature take its course at the burial site, with as little interference or disruption from the burials as possible
Next of Kin
The deceased person's closest living relative
Niche
The space in a mausoleum or columbarium which holds the remains or cremated ashes of the deceased.
Obituary
A notice placed in the newspapers, online, etc. which announces a person's death. The obituary may contain biographical information about the deceased, surviving relatives, funeral arrangements, and other information requested by the family.
Officiant
The person who leads the funeral or memorial service
Outer Burial Container
Also known as a "vault" or "grave liner", this is a structure made of concrete, metal, or wood that supports the casket in the ground and helps to keep the grave from collapsing.
Pall Bearer
A person who helps to carry or escort the casket during a funeral.
Partitioned Pet Cremation
A method of pet cremation in which the bodies of several pets will be placed in the cremation chamber and cremated at the same time, but the body each pet will be physically separated from another through barriers such as clay bricks, etc
Pet Cremation
A method used to reduce the dead body of an animal down to its basic elements. The most common method of cremation involves incineration at high temperatures.
Plot
A specific piece of ground located in a cemetery which is owned by a family or an individual. It is used to bury the casketed body or urn containing cremated remains
Pre-Need
The act of making arrangements for a funeral, memorial, ceremony or other service/plans prior to death. Advance Planning can involve simply recording one's wishes (Pre-Planning), or making financial arrangements (Pre-Paying). Also known as "Advance Planning." 
Pre-Planning
The act of making arrangements for a funeral, memorial, ceremony or other service/plans prior to death. Pre-Planning can involve simply recording one's wishes or making financial arrangements (Pre-Paying). Also known as "Pre-Need." 
Presidential Memorial Certificate
An engraved paper certificate that honors the memory of the deceased veteran, and is signed by the current President of the United States.
Private Pet Cremation
In a truly private cremation, only the body of one pet is placed into the cremation chamber and cremated.
Revocable Contract
A revocable contract can be cancelled or “un-funded” at any time, and the released funds can be used for any purpose.
Scattering
The act of distributing the cremated remains (ashes) of the deceased as an act of remembrance to the deceased.
Scattering Garden
A plot of land set aside for scattering the cremated remains of humans or pets. The scattering garden is usually owned by a cemetery or crematory.
Totten Trust
Funds from a Totten trust or Payable On Death (POD) accounts are earmarked to cover anticipated funeral costs. When the covered person dies, the money passes automatically toadesignated beneficiary without having to go through probate. The funds are intended to be used to cover funeral expenses, but the beneficiary has the freedom to use the funds however they wish.
Traditional Funeral
A traditional funeral service is held in the presence of the deceased. The body may be either in an open or closed casket. The funeral service usually takes place within two or three days of the death.
Undertaker
Also known as the Funeral Director, this is the staff member who works with the family of the deceased to arrange the funeral, cremation, or other funeral services for the deceased.
Urn
A container designed to hold the cremated remains (“ashes”) of the deceased, either on a temporary or permanent basis.
Urn Vault
A small reinforced container used to house a cremation urn that is buried in the ground.
Veteran
Someone who is currently serving, or has served, as a member of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard); Members of Reserve Components and Reserve Officers Training Corps; Commissioned Officers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; A Commissioned Officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service; or The Philippine Armed Forces.
Viewing
The viewing offers relatives and friends of the deceased an opportunity to view the closed casket in private before the funeral ceremony
Vigil
A Roman Catholic religious service held on the eve of the funeral.
Visitation
The visitation offers relatives and friends of the deceased an opportunity to view the open casket in private before the funeral ceremony.
Wake
A wake is a watch kept over the deceased, held the night before the funeral. It may last the entire night.