Funeral Terms Defined
Alternative Container: An unfinished wood box or other non-metal receptacle often made of fiberboard, pressed wood or composition materials, and generally much lower in cost than caskets.
Casket/Coffin: A box or chest large enough for burying remains.
Cemetery: Land specifically used as a burial ground for the dead.
Cemetery Services: Opening and closing graves, set up for services, crypts or niches, setting grave liners and vaults, setting markers, and long-term maintenance of cemetery facilities and grounds.
Columbarium: A structure with niches or small spaces which allows for placement of cremated remains in urns or other small containers. It may be outdoors or part of a mausoleum.
Committal Service: A brief service of prayers or readings at the graveside during or prior to the burial of the casket.
Cremation: Exposing remains to extreme heat, flame and processing in order to reduce the body to ashes and small bone.
Crypt: A space in a mausoleum or other building under ground in a vault that can hold cremated or non-cremated remains.
Disposition: The placement of cremated or whole remains in their final resting place.
Endowment Care Fund: Money collected by the cemetery from the purchasers which is placed in trust for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery in the future.
Entombment: Burial in a mausoleum or grave.
Funeral Ceremony: A service commemorating the deceased, with the body present.
Funeral Services: Basic Service Fee services provided by a funeral director and staff, which may include consulting with the family on funeral planning; transportation, shelter, refrigeration of remains; preparing and filing notices; obtaining authorizations and permits; and coordinating with the cemetery, crematory or other third parties. (This fee typically can not be declined).
Grave: A space in the ground in a cemetery for the burial of remains.
Grave Liner: 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: A service to commemorate the deceased held at the cemetery before burial.
Green Burial: Natural burial in a designated park-like area designed for burial in simple wood caskets or none at all. (No embalming permitted, all natural products, grave marker rules vary according to provider).
Interment: Burial in the ground, inurnment or entombment.
Inurnment: The placing of cremated remains in an urn followed by placement in a niche or some other resting location.
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.
Scattering of Ashes: The scattering of someone’s cremated remains.
Urn: A container to hold cremated remains. It can be placed in a columbarium or mausoleum, buried in the ground, or some other significant spot.
Viatical: The sale of a terminally ill person’s life insurance policy to a third party for a percentage of the face value for use prior to death.
Vault: A grave liner that completely encloses a casket.
Visitation/Viewing: Pre-determined place and time for the family to receive friends and extended family. The casket may be opened or closed.