Empowering Cemetery and Funeral Service Suppliers

Funeral Service Glossary - Legal

At-need Funeral: working with a funeral director after a loved one has died to plan a funeral, especially when a funeral has not been planned in advance.
Attorney in Fact: a person who is granted the power of attorney.
Beneficiary: recipient of the proceeds of an insurance policy or will.
Bequest: gift of property made in a will.
Burial Certificate/ Permit: a legal paper issued by the local government authorizing burial. The permit may authorize earth burial or cremation or removal to a distant point.
Burial Insurance: an insurance policy in which the principal is paid in a funeral service and merchandise rather than cash.
Certified Death Certificate: a legalized copy of the original certificate, issued upon request by the local government for the purpose of substantiating various claims by the family of the deceased such as insurance and other death benefits.
Codicil: amendment to the will that changes the original provisions.
Contest: legal challenge or question to the validity of a will.
Cremation Permit: a certificate issued by local government authorizing cremation of the deceased.
Death Certificate: legal document signed by the attending physician or coroner certifying the cause of death and other vital statistical data pertaining to the deceased.
Death Notice: a paragraph in the classified section of a newspaper, and/or on the Internet, that publicizes the death of a person and gives details of the funeral service that the survivors wish to have published. Most notices list the names of the relatives of the deceased.
Deceased: one in whom all physical life has ceased.
Executor: administrator of an estate.
Funeral Insurance/Burial Insurance: an insurance policy that covers costs related to the funeral or provides money for a funeral upon death of the insured.
Funeral Rule: established in 1984 by the Federal Trade Commission, the Funeral Rule protects consumers' rights.
Inquest: an official inquiry or examination usually before a jury to determine the cause of death.
Intestate: having no legal will left behind.
License: an authorization from the state granting permission to perform duties which, without such permission, would be illegal.
Life Insurance Trust: trust fund from money provided by life insurance.
Living Trust: trust that has been established during the life of the trustee.
Living Will: legal document detailing the wishes of an individual concerning his/her medical care, particularly in respect to resuscitation and life sustaining technology.
Perpetual Care Trust Fund: portion of burial plot cost set aside in trust for ongoing care
Prearranged Funeral: funeral arranged and paid for by an individual prior to their death.
Prearranged Funeral Trust or Funeral Trust: method that allows individuals to pre-pay for funeral expenses by holding money in trust until it is needed to pay for funeral costs.
Pre-Planning or Pre-need: working with a funeral director to plan one's funeral in advance of death; the process includes selecting the type of funeral or memorial service, method of disposition, funeral merchandise, cemetery plot locations, memorials, songs, pallbearers, etc.; many people who preplan their funeral services also prepay for them through an insurance policy, a trust, or other investment means.
Probate: court process that proves the validity of a will.
Right of Survivorship: occurs when joint property owned by the deceased is granted to the surviving joint owner.
Testator: person making valid will.
Transit Permit: a legal paper issued by the local government authorizing removal of a body to a cemetery for interment. Some cities also require an additional permit if the deceased is to be cremated.
Trust: monetary fund held and managed by one person to benefit an individual or others.
Viatical: purchase of a life-insurance policy from a terminally ill person.
Will: legal document stating intentions of deceased on the care of their remains and dispersal of their belongings along with other relevant issues.