Funeral Glossary - Funeral Terms and What They Mean, Get Answers Now

Funeral Jargon-Buster 

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.

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