Glossary of Funeral Terms

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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." 


Alternative Container: An unfinished wood box or other non-metal receptacle without ornamentation, often made of fiberboard, pressed wood, or composition materials, and generally lower in cost than caskets.


Autopsy: Following death, an autopsy is a complete examination of the body by a doctor to determine the cause of death.


Casket/Coffin: A box or chest for burying remains.


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.


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


Closed Casket: A visitation where the casket is closed and the body is not available for viewing.


Committal Service: The portion of a ceremony that involves the speaking of last words just prior to burial.


Crematory or Crematorium: The facility where cremation of a human body takes place.


Cremation: Exposing remains and the container encasing them to extreme heat and flame and processing the resulting bone fragments to a uniform size and consistency.


Crypt: A space in a mausoleum or other building to hold cremated or whole remains.


Disposition: The placement of cremated or whole remains in their final resting place.


Endowment Care Fund: Money collected from cemetery property purchasers and placed in trust for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery.


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.


Entombment: Burial in a mausoleum.


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 Ceremony: A service commemorating the deceased, with the body present.


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 Services: Services provided by a funeral director and staff, which may include consulting with the family on funeral planning; transportation, shelter, refrigeration and embalming of remains; preparing and filing notices; obtaining authorizations and permits; and coordinating with the cemetery, crematory or other third parties.


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 space in the ground in a cemetery for the burial of remains.


Grave Liner or Outer Container: A concrete cover that fits over a casket in a grave. Some liners cover tops and sides of the casket. Others, referred to as vaults, completely enclose the casket. Grave liners minimize ground settling.


Graveside Service: Also known as a “committal service,” the graveside service is held at the grave site 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.


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.


Interment: Burial in the ground, inurnment or entombment.


Inurnment: The placing of cremated remains in an urn.


Mausoleum: A building in which remains are buried or entombed.


Memorial Service: A ceremony commemorating the deceased, without the body present.


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


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


Vault: A grave liner that completely encloses a casket.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace. 


Funeral Terms, Caskets, Cremation Urns in Three Rivers, Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke and Worcester MA.  Enfield, Hartford, Suffield, Stafford Springs CT.