Glossary of Terms

BURIAL VAULT -- A boxlike container for holding a casket for earth burial; the more substantial vault or a liner is required by most cemeteries to prevent the collapse of a grave after burial.

CASH ADVANCE ITEMS -- Goods and services furnished by a third party and paid for by the funeral director on your behalf.

CASKET -- A receptacle, which can be made out of various materials, in which the body is placed for final disposition.

COLUMBARIUM -- A building lined with shelves or recesses for the placement of cremation urns.

CONTAINER -- A pressboard or fiberboard box the size of a casket usually used for immediate/direct cremations; alternative container.

CREMAINS --The remains of a body after cremation; cremated remains.

CREMATION -- A process which reduces the body by heat to small bone fragments. When the fragments are pulverized, they are reduced to the consistency of coarse sand or crushed seashells.

CREMATORY -- A building with a furnace called a retort used to cremate human remains.

DIRECT BURIAL -- The body is transferred from the place of death to the funeral home, placed in a casket and then delivered directly to the burial site. There is no public viewing or graveside services.

DIRECT CREMATION -- The body is transferred from the place of death to the funeral home, placed in a container and delivered directly to a crematory. There is no public viewing.

DISPOSITION -- The final resting place for the body or for cremated remains. Choices include burial of the body in the earth or a mausoleum; burial, scattering or deposit of cremated remains in an urn for placement in a niche or to take home; donation of the body to a research facility; or burial at sea (not permitted in the Great Lakes).

EARTH BURIAL -- Interment of a body in a grave.

EMBALMING -- The treatment of human remains with chemicals to sanitize or disinfect and temporarily preserve the body.

ENTOMBMENT -- Placement of the body in a casket above ground in a mausoleum.

GRAVE LINER -- A steel or concrete liner for a grave required by most cemeteries to prevent the collapse of a grave after burial. State law does not require a grave liner.

GRAVESIDE SERVICES -- Formal committal services conducted at the cemetery.

HOSPICE -- An organization, staffed mainly by volunteers, dedicated to the care of the terminally.

INTERMENT -- The act of burial.

MARKER -- A monument or memorial to mark the place of burial.

MAUSOLEUM -- A building in which interment is above ground.

MEMORIAL SERVICE -- A service at which the body is not present.

NICHE -- A shell-like space inside a building which is called a columbarium. Urns are placed in these niches as a final resting place for cremated remains.

OBITUARY -- A brief notice in the newspaper which usually lists the name of the deceased, the age, and the funeral home you have selected. Newspapers may or may not charge for publishing obituaries.

PRENEED, PREARRANGING or PREPLANNING -- Planning a funeral in advance of the death, usually consisting of a list of your preferences for funeral arrangements.

PREFUNDING -- Same as prearrangement defined above, except that the funding for the funeral is paid in advance either through a trust or life insurance.

PRICE LIST -- An itemized list of funeral goods and services.

TRADITIONAL SERVICE -- A religious service with the body present usually preceded by visitation.

URN -- A container in which cremated remains are kept; may be made of various materials, including wood, marble or metal.

VISITATION -- A scheduled time, during which a body is present in an open or closed casket, when family and friends pay their respects; also referred to as a “viewing”, “calling hours”, “family hour” or “wake."