Commonly used Terms Page
Naturally, there may be funeral service terms you’re unfamiliar with. We provide this glossary for your convenience, and if you find there’s a word not listed here which you’d like our assistance in defining, feel free to call one of our staff members at 918-458-5055. We’d be honored to assist you.
Above-Ground Burial: This is when a person is entombed in a mausoleum, as opposed to a traditional in-ground burial. It requires the purchase of a crypt in a building specifically designed for the placement of a casket or urn.
Advance Planning: Sometimes called pre-need planning, this strategy insures your exact end-of-life wishes be carried out. A pre-need plan includes all the details for a memorial or funeral service, and stipulates the manner of disposition for the remains. An advance plan may, or may not be, pre-paid. For additional information on advance planning with Green Country Funeral Home, click here.
Arrangement conference: The meeting between you and the funeral director during which you choose the services and merchandise you would like.
Basic Services of Funeral Directors and Staff: The charge made by the funeral home for making all the arrangements for final disposition of the body. It covers the availability of a funeral director, staff and equipment to respond to a death or inquiry. The fee also includes the arrangement conference and securing necessary authorizations such as filing the death certificate and getting permits. You cannot decline this charge.
Note: If you select direct burial or direct cremation, the arrangements fee cannot be added since it is already figured into the prices for these services.
Burial: The most commonly chosen final disposition. Costs associated with burial include such services as grave opening and closing and/or perpetual care (maintenance) of the grave site. You will also be charged by the funeral home for the purchase of a grave site, if you buy it through the home.
Cash advance items: Items of service or merchandise for which the funeral home pays directly to a third party on your behalf, such as fees for the cemetery or crematory, death certificates and clergy. The funeral home cannot profit on these items. Some funeral homes require you to pay for these items before the funeral service. You may be able to pay some of these fees directly, if you choose.
Note: Get receipts for any money you spend, whether it's to the funeral home or to third parties.
Casket: The box in which a body is laid to rest. It could be made of wood, metal, and comes in a variety of styles and prices.
Casket price list: A printed list which the funeral home presents to you before you discuss, or are shown, the casket selection. This list will provide a brief description of each casket and alternative container, such as a cardboard or pressed wood box, offered by the funeral home. It must state the retail price of each item offered.
Cemetery deed: The document from the cemetery which establishes your right to bury the deceased in the plot. Put it in a safe place, as it is difficult to replace.
Columbarium: A place for the respectful and usually public storage of cremated remains.
Committal Service: Sometimes called a graveside service, this is the ceremony at the gravesite following a funeral ceremony or gathering in a church, chapel or other location. Some families may choose to only have a committal service.
Cremation: The irreversible process of reducing human remains, bone fragments and ash through the use of intense heat and flame. The remains are referred to as cremated remains, or cremains. The cremains may be buried, placed in a columbarium, scattered in an appropriate location, or kept in your home. Some people choose to purchase an urn for the cremains rather than use the container provided by the crematory. There will be charges for the cremation and, if you choose, for an urn and space in a columbarium.
Crypt: An interment space in a mausoleum.
Custodial care: A fee the funeral home may charge for days that the body is being held and no other services are being provided. This fee must be disclosed and identified as a daily, weekly or one-time fee.
Customer's Designation of Intentions: A specific form that the funeral director will complete if you select cremation. It includes a space for "disposal of cremains" (what you plan to do with them). You should be aware that 120 days after the cremation, the funeral home has the right to dispose of the cremains if you do not claim them. This fact, and the manner of disposition, must be clearly stated on the form. You must be given a copy of this form when arrangements are made.
Direct burial: The disposition of human remains by burial without a formal viewing, visitation, or ceremony, except for a graveside service.
Direct cremation: The disposition of human remains by cremation without a formal viewing, visitation, or ceremony.
Entombment: Burial in an above-ground crypt in a mausoleum or in a lawn crypt.
General Price List: A form which lists the price (or range of prices) for all of the services and merchandise regularly offered by the funeral home. This form must be given to you to keep, at the beginning of the arrangement conference. You may request a copy from a funeral home when a personal visit is made. You do not need to complete funeral arrangements to receive this form.
In-Ground Burial: This form of interment is the most common type of funeral and requires the purchase of a cemetery plot, possibly a vault, and a casket.
Note: When selecting your cemetery, it’s important that you are aware of any religious affiliation it might have, as well as any requirements and restrictions pertaining to vaults and monuments. (It is fairly common for a cemetery to require an outer container or vault in which to place the casket.) You should also ask if the cost of the plot includes perpetual care.
Interment: The placing of remains into their final resting place, such as the ground, a tomb, crypt or niche.
Inurnment: The placing of an urn containing cremated remains into a columbarium, niche, crypt, tomb or ground space.
Itemized Statement of Services and Merchandise: A detailed outline of the specific goods and services you have chosen, including the price of each item, and a total cost. Also included will be an estimate of the cash advance fees to be paid on your behalf to third parties. The Itemized Statement will serve as your contract.
Lawn Crypt: A subsurface concrete structure constructed in multiple units for the interment of human remains. Lawn crypts may be constructed with more than one tier or level.
Mausoleum: A public or private building specially designed to receive entombments in crypts and niches.
Memorial: Any item, other than a mausoleum or columbarium, used for identifying an interment space or for commemoration of the life of a decedent, including, but not limited to, a monument, marker, niche plate, urn garden plaque, crypt plate, cenotaph, marker bench and vase.
Memorial Donation: Money given to a church, charity, or organization on behalf of a deceased person. Many times the family of the deceased specifies memorial donations to a specific organization.
Niche: A compartment or cubicle for the memorialization and permanent placement of cremated remains.
Outer Burial Container Price List: A printed or typewritten list which the funeral home presents to you before you discuss or are shown an outer interment receptacle. This list will provide a brief description of each outer interment receptacle regularly offered by the funeral home. It must contain the retail price of each item offered.
Pre-Need: Often called advance planning, pre-need arrangements stipulate the details of your requested end-of-life services. See Advance Planning for additional information.
Professional Service Fee: The fee charged for making an interment including, but not limited to, administrative, clerical, legal and mechanical services performed by the cemetery in conjunction with the opening of an interment space in preparation for the interment of human remains and the subsequent closing of the interment space after the interment has been performed.
Refrigeration fee: A fee charged by some funeral homes for cooling the body when embalming is not selected. If such a fee is charged, it must be stated up front, on both the General Price List and the Itemized Statement. This charge can be declined by the customer.
Topical disinfection: External cleansing of the body for which you will be charged. There cannot be an additional charge for this service when embalming is selected, since topical disinfection is part of the embalming process.
Transfer of Remains fee: A fee for transportation of the body from the place where death occurred (or from the airport or morgue) to the funeral home.
Urn: If cremation is the choice of final disposition, the cremated remains will return from the crematory in a small container that is suitable for burial or placement in a mausoleum. You may decide to purchase an urn in which to place the cremated remains. As with caskets, there are a great number of urns varying in material, craftsmanship and style. A container made from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, bronze, ceramic, glass, porcelain, wood or other materials, into which cremated remains are placed. Many are designed in traditional vase-like shapes or square and rectangular cubes.
Vault: Sometimes called an outer burial container his is a container in the ground, in which the casket is placed. Vaults vary in material from cement, metal, plastic, or any combination of the three. They may be sealed or unsealed. This is now required by many cemeteries, to prevent collapse or sinking of the grave. Also provides protection for the casket.