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Glossary of Terms


Arrangement Room

A room in the funeral home were the necessary funeral arrangements with the family of the deceased are made.

Casket Handling Fee

Illegal for funeral home to charge a fee for a casket purchased elsewhere.

Cemetery Property

A grave, crypt, or niche.

Cemetery Services

Opening and closing graves, crypts, or niches; setting grave liners and vaults; setting markers; and long-term maintenance of cemetery grounds and facilities.


A structure with niches (small spaces) for placement of cremated remains in urns or other approved containers. It may be outdoors or part of a mausoleum.

County Morgue

A place to where bodies found dead are taken to and held pending identification by relatives.


Exposing human remains and the container encasing them to extreme heat and flame and processing the resulting bone fragments to a uniform size and consistency. A casket is not required for cremation but a rigid alternative container may be needed to encase the body.

Cremation Authorization

A written authorization that must be signed before cremation. It lists all the requirements reguarding the cremation process. Some states allow you to sign for your own cremation beforehand.

Cremation Permit

Permit issued for cremation by the medical examiner or county coroner. They may charge a fee for this permit. Varies by county.


A space in a mausoleum or other building to hold casketed human remains or cremated remains in an urn.

Direct Burial or Cremation

Immediate disposition of a deceased person without any formal visitation or services.

Display Room

The room in the funeral home were caskets, urns, burial garments and burial vaults are displayed.


The placement of whole human remains or cremated remains in their final resting place. A Permit for Disposition must be filed with the local registrar before disposition can take place.


Scientific preparation of deceased. Except in certain cases, embalming is not required by law. It might be necessary if you select a funeral with viewing.

Endowment Care Fund

Moneys collected from cemetery property purchasers and placed in trust for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery. The state monitors the fund and establishes the minimum amount that must be collected; however, the cemetery is permitted to collect more.


Burial in a mausoleum.

First Call

The initial visit of the funeral director to the place of death for the purpose of removing the deceased and to secure certain information for which he has immediate need.

Funeral Celebrant

A funeral celebrant is a person who is trained and certified to work with families to plan a memorialization of their loved ones. The service focuses on the life of the individual and all that they had accomplished.

Funeral Ceremony

A service commemorating the deceased with the body present.

Funeral Insurance

Buy insurance through the funeral home, which becomes the beneficiary. You should get in writing what the future value of the policy is going to be. Find out if the insurance can be transferred to another funeral home and what happens if you cancel the policy.

Funeral Services

Services provided by a funeral director and staff that help to commemorate a life, which may include consulting with the family on funeral planning; transportation, shelter, refrigeration, and embalming of remains; preparing and filing notices; obtaining

General Price List

Also known as GPL. The law requires funeral homes to quote prices over the phone and to give you a GPL when you inquire in person.


A space in the ground in a cemetery for the burial of casketed human remains or cremated remains in an urn.

Graveside Service

A service to commemorate the deceased held at the cemetery prior to burial.

Guaranteed Funeral Trust

Pay for your funeral today and forget about it. This protects you and your family from future price increases.

Honorary Pallbearers

Friends or members of a religious, social or fraternal organization who act as an escort or honor guard for the deceased. Honorary pallbearers do not carry the casket.


An official coroner's inquiry or examination usually before a jury to determine the case of death. Usually occurs 6 to 8 weeks after death.


Burial in the ground, inurnment, or entombment.


The placing of cremated remains into a niche.

Lowering Device

A mechanism used for lowering the casket into the grave. Apparatus is placed over the open grave which has two or more straps which support the casket over the opening. Upon release of the mechanism, the straps unwind from a cylinder and slowly lower the casket into the grave.

Mass Cards

A Roman Catholic practice involving specific prayers, such as Masses and Rosaries offered by an individual or a group for a definite purpose.


A building in which human remains are buried (entombed).

Medical Examiner

A government official, usually appointed, who has a thorough medical knowledge and whose function is to perform an autopsy on bodies dead from violence, suicide, crime, etc., and to investigate circumstances of death.

Memorial Service

A ceremony commemorating the deceased without the body present.

Multiple Burial

You may arrange to be buried in the same grave as a spouse or other family member. There may be special fees and may limit owners rights. Not all cemeteries will allow this option.


A space in a columbarium, mausoleum, or niche wall to hold an urn

Non-Guaranteed Funeral Trust

You pay for your funeral today but are not provided with protection against future price increases. Your survivors may have to make up the difference in cost at the time of the funeral.


A non-paid notice of the death of a person, particularly a newspaper notice, containing a biographical sketch.

Outer Burial Container

Either grave liner or burial vault. They keep the ground from settling after burial. The cemetery you choose may have policies requiring the use of either one.

Outer Burial Container

An outer burial container (vault) completely encloses the casket and minimize ground settling.


Making your funeral arrangements in advance. You have the option of paying in advance.

Preperation Room

A room in a funeral home designed and equipped for preparing the deceased for final disposition.

Price Lists

When you inquire in person about merchandise prices, a casket and outer burial container price list must be provided at the funeral home.

Register Book

A book made available by the funeral director for recording the names of people visiting the funeral home to pay their respects to the deceased. Also has space for entering other data such as name, dates of birth and death of the deceased, name of the officiating clergyman, place of interment, time and date of service, list of floral tributes, etc.

Scientific Donation of Body

Donation of your body to a medical school for educational and research purposes. It is a good idea to make these arrangements in advance.


A container to hold cremated human remains. It can be placed in a columbarium or mausoleum, or it can be buried in the ground.


An outer burial container that completely encloses a casket.

Video Tributes

Video tributes allow you to combine your favorite photos and memories into a beautiful presentation complete with music and backgrounds. Can be easily burned to a DVD's that can be distributed to family members.


An opportunity for survivors and friends to view the deceased usually in a chapel within the funeral home. Also referred to as a wake.

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