The death of a loved one is difficult. What happens afterward can be a whirlwind of emotion and decisions that can seem to take on a life of their own. In the process of making those decisions, you will have conversations with your funeral director that may include unfamiliar terms. Understanding the meaning and context of funeral terminology will make it much easier to navigate these talks and lower your stress. The following list will help.
Commonly Used Funeral-related Terms
Affirmation or celebration of life: A personalized service that varies widely in content and format, depending on the plans and wishes of the deceased and their family.
Apportionment: Dividing cremated remains into portions for separate disposition.
Arrangement conference: The meeting between the funeral director and the family or representative of the deceased to set up funeral arrangements.
Burial insurance: An insurance policy that pays for the funeral service.
Burial permit: The legal document that authorizes burial, cremation, scattering or disinterment. The funeral director usually gets this document for the family.
Catafalque: A stand upon which the casket rests while in state and during the funeral service.
Cenotaph: An empty tomb or monument erected in the memory of a person buried elsewhere.
Committal service: The part of the funeral that involves speaking last words just prior to burial.
Cortege: A funeral procession.
Direct burial: A simple burial with no viewing or visitation.
Embalming: Temporarily preserving a body through the use of chemical injections and applications to give the deceased a lifelike appearance for the viewing and funeral ceremonies.
FTC Funeral Rule: This Federal Trade Commission rule makes it possible for you to choose and pay for only the goods and services you need or want.
Funeral escort: Law enforcement or others who escort a funeral procession.
General price list: A written, itemized price list that every funeral must, by law, provide to consumers upon request.
Inflation-proof contract: The goods and services in this contract are guaranteed, despite any price increases because of inflation. These contracts must be 100 percent funded in advance.
Inumment: Placing cremated remains in an urn.
Irrevocable contract: This contract is used solely for funeral expenses. Most people decide to make their pre-funding irrevocable to ensure that it’s used for their funeral.
Lump-sum death benefit: A one-time benefit of $255 from the Social Security Administration, made payable to the surviving spouse or child, provided they meet certain requirements.
Memorial service: A ceremony that honors the deceased without the body being present.
Opening and closing fee: The cemetery’s fee for digging and refilling a grave.
Outer burial container: This is also known as the vault or grave liner and is made of concrete, metal or wood. It supports the casket in the ground and keeps the grave from collapsing.
Perpetual Care Trust Funds: The part of the burial plot cost that’s set aside in a trust fund for its ongoing care.
Presidential Memorial Certificate: An engraved paper certificate for a deceased veteran. It’s signed by the current president of the United States.
Revocable contract: A revocable pre-need contract that can be canceled or defunded at any time and the money can be used for any purpose.
Transit permit: A local or state permit allowing a body to be transported to the place of burial or cremation. This is usually done for out-of-town or out-of-state burials.
Totten trust: Money from a Totten trust or a payable on death account is set aside for anticipated funeral costs. When a person dies, the money passes automatically to the beneficiary, who is supposed to use it for funeral expenses. However, the beneficiary can use it however they want.
Visitation: A visitation service allows relatives and friends of the deceased to view the open casket in private before the funeral ceremony.
Wake: A service that keeps watch over the deceased. It’s held the night before the funeral and may last the entire night.
Knowing some of the funeral terminology that may be used can help you feel more at ease during a difficult time. One way to ease some of the burden is by pre-planning your funeral arrangements. Call Bevis Funeral Home today at 850-385-2193 to speak with a knowledgeable funeral director for assistance.