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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.


Scattering Garden

A specific area designated for the scattering of ashes. Normally, a scattering garden is located at a cemetery.

Scattering Service

A ceremony honoring the deceased by the dispersion of their ashes.

Selection Room

See Display Room.

Service Car

A car used to carry any equipment and decorations necessary for a funeral or memorial service.

Show Room

See Display Room.


A term most often given to any family members who remain living after someone has died.

Sympathy Card

A message sent to someone who has recently lost a loved one, expressing condolences.



See Canopy.

Term Life Insurance

Term Life Insurance offers insurance benefits coverage for a limited number of years. It expires without value if the insured lives for the duration of the defined period and is often a term of five to 20 years.


A large vault or chamber used as a final resting place. It is normally an above-ground structure as opposed to a grave that is below the ground.


See Headstone.

Transit Permit

A legal document granting permission for the deceased to be taken to a cemetery. The local government issues these permits. Depending on the city’s specific rules, an additional permit may be required if the deceased is to be cremated.

Transportation of Deceased

See Hearse.


A trust establishes a set of written directions determined by its creator, called the “settlor.” A valid trust must include trust provisions, a trustee, a beneficiary, and assets transferred to the trust. A trust consists of specific directions written by its creator, instructing the trustee how to hold property or assets for a beneficiary.


A trustee is the person who manages a trust. The primary trustee is the initial manager of the trust. A successor trustee takes over after the initial manager resigns or is incapacitated or deceased.



A person who “undertakes” the task of preparing a body for burial or cremation and makes arrangements for the funeral. Also called a mortician or funeral director.


A decorative or functional container used for storing the remains of a cremated body. Urns can be made from almost any material, including glass, wood, ceramic, or metal. Urns may also be biodegradable if they are to be buried in the earth or at sea.

Urn Ark

A large, decorative box made of wood with glass panels that is used to hold and carry an urn throughout a funeral and committal ceremony.

Urn Garden

An area dedicated to the burial of urns. Plots are generally much smaller than full-sized burial plots.

Urn Placement

The committal of an urn to its final place of rest, such as in a columbarium, niche, urn garden, or private family estate.

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