Advance Funeral Planning Services, Glossary of Terms

Funeral Terms

First of all, this is a glossary of terms used that are unique to the funeral and funeral planning industry.  To help make things more transparent, we put together this glossary of terms to help explain what some of those terms mean.

Glossary of Terms


Administrator – Most noteworthy, the individual or body put in charge of the estate of a person who passed on without a will. The person or body appointed by the court.

Arrangement Room – A room of a funeral home where the bereaved and the funeral home staff make final funeral arrangements.

At-need – Equally important cemetery and funeral arrangements made around the time of death. In like manner, discover some of the advantages of planning a funeral in advance with the Final Needs Planning ProgramTM by Elephas Group.


Beneficiary – Uniquely, one who is the recipient of property or funds from a will or an insurance policy.

Bereaved – Not only describes the immediate family of the deceased, but also used to describe the suffering from grief upon the death of a loved one.

Bequest – A gift of property provided from a will.

Burial – The process of placing a dead body in an underground chamber.

Burial certificate or burial permit – Most noteworthy, the legal authorization of burial provided by the local government.  Also, the permit or certificate may authorize an earth burial, cremation, or removal to a distant point.


Casket – Similarly, often referred to as a “coffin”, a casket is typically made of wood, metal or plastic. Furthermore, the dead human body is placed inside of it for burial. Read our Elephas Group blog “Funeral Planning – Choosing a Casket”.

Casket coach – Also commonly referred to as a “hearse” or “funeral coach”, the casket coach designed to transport casketed remains from the funeral service over to the cemetery.

Catafalque – A catafalque refers to the stand that the casket rests during the funeral service.

Cemetery – Uniquely a private plot of land run by a business with property available for the disposition of the deceased.

Certified death certificate – Next of kin can apply for a certified death certificate, required to claim insurance benefits or to settle an estate.

Codicil – Correspondingly an amendment to a will that better explains or modifies, or revokes parts of a will.

Columbarium – As a matter of fact, a place designated for the respectful storage of cremated remains kept in urns.

Committal Service – Most noteworthy succeeding a funeral, this short ritual is the process where the deceased is interred or entombed. People will then say their final goodbyes.

Cortege – Uniquely an alternative term of a funeral procession.

Cosmetology – The utilization of cosmetics in order to restore a more lifelike appearance to the deceased.

Cremains – Equally an alternate term for ashes.

Cremation – The reduction of the body to ashes by fire. Read our Elephas Group blog that explore the rising trend of cremation.

Cremation permit – A certificate issued by local government authorizing the cremation of the deceased.

Crematory – A name for the building housing the furnace for cremation.

Crypt – Rooms or vaults for stored remains.


Death Certificate – A legal document that states the date, vital statistics, cause of death, location, and other pertinent data signed by the attending physician.

Death Notice – see obituary.

Deceased – (Noun) the one who has passed away. (Verb) dead.

Display room – The room in the funeral home for the display of urns, coffins, for attendees of a visitation.


Embalm – The preserving of a dead body by circulating embalming fluid through the veins and arteries of the body.

Entomb – The process of placing the body in a tomb or coffin.

Eulogy – A speech usually given at the funeral service that celebrates the life of the person who has died. Read our Elephas Group Blog: “Preparing To Give A Fitting Eulogy”

Exhume – The process of digging up the remain in order to remove the body from the place of burial.


Family car – Behind the hearse in a procession is the family car. Typically a limousine that contains the immediate family members.

Final Documents Service – A final document preparation service provided through Elephas Group’s Final Needs Planning ProgramTM. This service will streamline the piles of paperwork families are left to fill out after the death of a loved one.

Final Needs Planning ProgramTM – Elephas Group’s Final Needs Planning ProgramTM is a service that helps families deal with the loss of a loved one by pre arranging, pre paying, and seeing that all the financial aspects of funeral planning are seen to, well ahead of time.

Flower car – The vehicle used to transport floral arrangements from the funeral service to the cemetery in the procession. Read our Elephas Group blog “How To Choose The Right Floral Arrangement For A Funeral Service”.

Final rites – An alternate term for the funeral service.

Funeral arrangements – Funeral director’s conference with the family for the purpose of completing financial and service details of a funeral.

Funeral directors – A person responsible for preparing and supervising the burial or cremation. Commonly referred to as a “morticians” or “undertakers”.

Funeral home – A building used for the purpose of embalming, arranging and conducting the Funeral Service, the Ceremony honoring the deceased immediately prior to the burial or cremation process.

Funeral spray – An arrangement of cut flowers to serve as a tribute to the deceased. Read our Elephas Group Blog on “Choosing Floral Arrangements For A Funeral Service”.


Grave – Excavated ground for burial of the deceased.

Grave liner – An alternative to a vault, a grave liner will prevent ground from sinking around the site of a grave when the earth begins to settle.


Headstone – Used to identify the buried deceased. Made of metal or stone these stones display information like the name of the individual, date and place of birth.

Honorary pallbearers – Those not required to carry the casket, but given special mention and recognition.


Inter – The process of placing the body in a grave or a tomb.

Inurnment – The process of placing of the ashes into an urn.


Lead car – This is the car the front of a funeral procession, followed by the hearse.


Mausoleum – A building that houses several chambers in order to receive casketed remains. This is a permanent building above ground that houses the dead.

Memorial donation – A contribution made in the name of the deceased to a charitable donation.

Memorial service – Taking place after the body has been buried or cremated. Could be a week, to a year later.

Monument services – The monument services provided by Elephas Group’s Final Needs Planning ProgramTM allows you or your family to personalize and pay for a monument ahead of time.

Morgue – A place that houses dead bodies for identification by friends or family.

Mortician – Also known as a “funeral director”

Mortuary – An alternate term for “funeral home”

Mourner – An attendee of a funeral paying their respects for the deceased.


Niche – A recess in a wall that displays an urn.

Obituary – Also know to some as a “death notice”. An obituary serves as the notice of the death of a person usually placed in a newspaper, or on the Internet, containing a brief bio of the deceased. Read our Elephas Group blog “Funeral Planning – Writing an Obituary”.


Pallbearers – The individuals selected to carry the casket to and from the hearse.

Personalized Funerals – Personalized funerals are a non-traditional funeral service that is seeing a growth in popularity in modern culture. Read our Elephas Group blog “Adding Personal Touches To Your Funeral Service”.

Pharmacard – Elephas Group’s Pharmacard is a free supplemental patient benefit plan that gives you access to brand-name medications and healthcare products prescribed by your physician at an equal, or similar price to the generic alternative(s) Read more about Pharmacard here.

Plot – The specific spot of land allotted to the burial of the coffin or cremated remains in a cemetery.

Pre arranged funerals – These are funeral arrangements made well in advance prior to one’s death. Read more about how pre-arranged funerals work at www.finalneedsplanning.ca.

Private service – An invite only service not open to the public or friends or family without an invitation.

Procession – The procession refers to the convoy of cars lead by the lead car, casket, family car, then other attendees of the funeral, travelling from the funeral service to the cemetery.


Register – A book available at the visitation that contains the names and signatures of all those who are present.

Remains – The dead body, or corpse.

Reposing room – The room of the funeral home housing the body in the casket before the funeral service.

Rigor Mortis – The stiffening of the muscles that occurs after death.


Service car – In the procession, the service car transports essential funeral items like stands, chairs, etc.

Survivor – Those who outlive the deceased.

Sympathy cards – A card sent to the family to express sympathy. Read this Elephas Group blog “How To Write A Sympathy Card”.


Travel Protection Plan – a plan made to cover the expenses and facilitate the travel of the deceased when travelling abroad. Read more about this Plan.


Undertaker – an alternative term for “Funeral Director”.

Urn – A container made of metal, wood or stone for the cremated remains.


Vault – The receptacle holding the casket. Unlike a grave liner, a vault is made of sturdy wood, metal, or concrete. Like a grave liner,  used to prevent ground from sinking around the site of a grave when the earth begins to settle.

Viewing – The opportunity before the funeral where survivors and friends of the deceased come together to pay their respects. A closed casket.

Vigil – A religious service held by Roman Catholics on the eve of the funeral service.

Visitation – The opportunity before the funeral where survivors and friends of the deceased come together to pay their respects.


Wake – A private watch or a vigil held beside the body of the deceased.

Interested in learning more about how the Final Needs Planning ProgramTM can benefit you and your family? Find out how it works here.

Interested in the Program? Call us or send us an email for more details.