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As with any profession, the funeral profession has its jargon, a specialized vocabulary unique to the business. Only those intimately familiar with the profession know what everything actually means. At times, this can be a problem because people need to be able to understand in order to make good decisions. Therefore, the need for a glossary! Hopefully, it will help you better understand any future conversations you may have with funeral professionals.



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Lapsed Policy

A lapse occurs when someone does not pay the required number of payments on an insurance policy. If a lapse occurs, the beneficiaries may receive nothing. Legally, the insurance company does not have to pay out on a lapsed policy. Typically, this only happens when a life insurance company does not receive premiums due after the grace period has passed.

Last Rites

The last prayers prayed over a person before death occurs. They are often associated with the Catholic faith but are also a part of other religions.

Lead Car

The vehicle that leads the funeral procession to the church and cemetery. The funeral director and minister/celebrant typically ride in the lead car.

Lie in State

When the body of a widely known, honorable individual is laid in a public place for mourners to pay their respects before the burial. This is sometimes shortened to In State.


A stretch vehicle with seats for many individuals behind the driver’s seat. Typically, a limousine carries the deceased’s close relatives in the funeral procession.

Lump-Sum Death Benefit

A one-time payment from a life insurance policy and/or the Social Security Administration, for example, to be paid on the death of an individual. The lump sum is paid to the policy beneficiary or the surviving spouse or child, in the case of the Social Security benefit.

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