Funeral Jargon Buster

Funeral Jargon Explained!

Administrator

A person appointed by the Probate Registry to oversee a deceased’s persons estate and manage its dispersal, for an estate which didn’t have a will, no Executor was named in a will or the named Executor doesn’t wish to fulfil their nominated role.

 

Beneficiary

The named person in a Will who has been bequeathed an item, such as property, personal possessions, money or jewellery.

 

Bequest

An amount of cash / investments or a gift outlined in a Will to a certain named person.

 

Bereaved

People who are mourning the person who has recently died and are grieving, such as family members.

 

Bereavement Allowance

What was once termed Widow’s Pension – this is Government financial support for a Widow or Widower in the event their partner dies. Usually available for one year after the death.

 

Bereavement Payment 

A range of sums made to a Widow or Widower or single sum paid out if qualifying for Bereavement Allowance.

Casket

Similar to a coffin, it is a rectangular form often embellished with furnishings and fabrics and has a split casing for open viewings.Catafalque : Used by both Church and Crematorium, this is a a wooden stand, often covered with a drape, that is used to present a coffin or casket to a congregation.

 

Cenotaph

A central marker, either a tower, tomb or similar monument that is empty and without interment used as a place to observe and remember, while the body or ashes may rest elsewhere.

 

Chapel Of Rest

Either religious or non religious, it is a room which can be found in a hospital or within a Church where people can visit for a viewing before a service or final burial.

Coffin

Similar to a casket but with tapered shaped enclosure which narrows at the feet and the head.

 

Columbarium

Often confused with a mausoleum, it is a building within consecrated grounds that is purposely built to hold individual urns containing ashes.

 

Committal Service

The moment where the deceased finally leaves the congregation during a service or during a service of its own. When a coffin or casket is buried, ashes within an urn buried or process towards cremation.

 

Coroner

In the event that a cause of death has not been ascertained, the person is unidentified, requires further enquiry or is a suspicious death. This Government official will oversee procedures to ascertain what is not known.

 

Cortege

A sombre event where people walk behind a coffin and accompany the coffin or casket into a church or cemetery.

 

Death Certificate

Whenever someone dies – except if Coroner involved, this certificate will be issued for use with attending to a Will and Probate, managing an Estate and aid in authorising a burial.

 

Death notice

A notification that will be published in a public place, newspaper, newsletter, website, to announce a person’s death to the wider public in one or many locations.

 

Disbursements

If you are making use of a Funeral Director, there may be a one off payment for all services. This is the act of the Funeral Director paying all the smaller parties involved in a burial or cremation. Such as Celebrant, Church fees and flowers.

 

DIY funeral 

A funeral organised by yourself or group of family members without the aid of a Funeral Director.

 

Embalming

This is the pharmaceutical method used to keep a loved one presentable for viewing at a funeral and to preserve the body in the short term. 

 

Estate

This is the title given to all possessions, whether property, money, investments, furniture, jewellery or collections that are left behind when a person dies. this also includes debts set against those items and is managed by an Executor or Administrator. 

 

Eulogy

A well written but short biography of the person who has died and which is read out during a funeral service. 

 

Executor

Different to an Administrator, the person who has been named in the Will by the deceased to look after their affairs and put them in order after their death. 

 

Exhume

The act of removing an interred body and moving to a new burial site. A process which requires authorisation and license.

 

Funeral Celebrant 

Either religious, humanist or non faith, this is the person who can lead a service and talk at length about the person who has died. Providing a story of that person’s life in a way which reminds the congregation about the person’s personality and character and achievements.

 

Funeral Director

A person or company you call when someone dies so that they can arrange all of the different aspects of a funeral on your behalf.

 

Funeral Plan

A funeral can be costly, this allows you to pay for your own funeral on a monthly or yearly basis and ensure all costs are picked up in advance of your death.

 

Funeral Procession

This is usually the cavalcade of vehicles that follow a hearse from the person’s home to a cemetery or church. It can also refer to a congregation walking behind a coffin or casket into a church.

 

Funeral Spray

These are specialist types of floral arrangements which can be ordered and sent to the bereaved or to a place of worship / location where the funeral is to take place.


Grant Of Representation

Another term for Probate and usually issued in cases where an Executor has refused or has been challenged and replaced by an Administrator. A legal document for managing an estate.

 

Grave Marker

While it can take six months for a permanent headstone to be laid at a burial site. This is a temporary placement to identify a plot.

 

Green Burial

This is the most eco friendly way for a person to be buried. Otherwise known as woodland burial and natural burial, land used will usually be a field or forest without markers.

 

Guardian’s Allowance

This is a Government benefit that enables someone who has been granted care of Children in a Will, to receive financial assistance if eligible.

 

Hearse

A vehicle, either motor powered or horse drawn which contains the coffin or casket and forms a part of any funeral procession.

Humanist funeral

Quite different from a religious funeral in that it deals with Humanist mannerisms, over and above the belief and worship of a God. Focusing on the life that has been lived rather than the one that may exist after.

Inheritance Tax

If a person’s estate is over a certain amount then this is the tax which is to be paid to the government.

 

Intestate

If someone dies intestacy this means they have died without a will and the government is required to ensure certain rules are followed to protect all concerned.

Interment

The act of returning a body to nature, either within a coffin, casket or as a Urn of Ashes.

 

Lair

Scottish derivation of Grave or Burial plot.

Letters Of Administration

Authorisation by a court that allows for the replacement of an Executor or placing of Administrator where no Executor was named.

Living Will

If a person becomes unable to look after themselves and knew this time would come, they might have arranged this document to ensure their wishes for care is detailed and known.

 

Mausoleum

This is a large building where coffins and caskets may reside, usually a family plot for multiple generations.

 

Medical Certificate Of Cause Of Death

When a person dies, if there are no complications, this will be issued and provided so as a Death Certificate can be authorised.

Memorial Service

A congregation which takes place months or years after a funeral service for more people to say Goodbye in an informal or formal manner.

 

Mortician

This is the dedicated professional that uses a range of skills to ensure correct application of embalming, reconstruction and dressing. Otherwise known as a mortuary technician. A person who prepares a body for burial or cremation.

Obituary

An announcement in a public domain either website or newspaper stating when and where a funeral will take place with a snippet of information about the person who has died.

Pallbearers

People who have been chosen to carry a coffin or casket. Either family members or friends or hired staff.

 

Plot

A segmented location for burial within a cemetery or church graveyard which may have space for one or more caskets or coffins. Usually termed a family plot.

 

Post Mortem Examinations

A pathologist will carry this out if there is further investigation required to ascertain the cause of death. Which tends to be requested by a Coroner.

Pre-Planned / Pre-Arranged Funeral

A funeral that has been fully or partly paid for and planned in advance of a person’s death, often paid for with a funeral plan.

Probate

The function and also Government procedure which enables a person to request they be able to handle a person’s estate after that person has died.

 

Repatriation

An instance where a body needs to be taken across a country’s borders, either in or out. Requiring authorisation and paperwork from both countries and the airline.

Social Fund Funeral Payment

If you receive benefits and are responsible for a funeral, you may be entitled to receive a one off payment to assist.

Undertaker

Another term for Funeral Director.

Urn

A decorative pot with handles made from various materials which holds the ashes of a person after cremation.

Wake

A get together either arranged before or after a funeral, whereby people congregate to meet family and friends and talk about the person they will miss.

 

Widowed Parent’s Allowance

Similar to Bereavement Allowance but caters for the care of any children and is a government payment to a married partner and or parent of a child or children for up to one year.

 

Widow’s Pension

Now termed Bereavement Allowance – see above.