Funeral Glossary

We have put together a Funeral Glossary to explain some of the most common terms that will be used when funeral planning. As at Capital Life we know that navigating the practicalities and technicalities of planning a funeral is overwhelming, especially if you don’t understand the terminology. 

funeral glossary

Funeral Glossary

Bier:  A movable frame used for transporting the coffin or casket in the church or crematorium, or before burial in a cemetery.

Catafalque: A stand upon which the coffin or casket is placed, usually in a crematorium. 

Celebration of Life: A funeral or memorial service that focuses on positive memories of the person, and the life they lived. It’s sometimes referred to as a colourful funeral because it ignores the protocol of traditional funerals, such as black clothes.

Disbursements: “Disbursements” (also referred to as funeral third party costs) are the fees payable to the Doctor or Coroner for the issue of a death or cremation medical certificates or Coroner’s certificates, cremation or burial fees, the service at a Crematorium or Cemetery and the fees for the Minister or Celebrant to perform the services at the Crematorium, Cemetery or graveside. These can vary greatly depending on location and as such it is important to have a provision in your funeral plan. 

Embalming: The process of preserving the body of the deceased before their funeral to delay natural processes, allowing the family to spend more time with their loved one. 

Eulogy: A speech given in honour of a loved one at their funeral, usually by close family or a friend. 

Funeral Plan: A scheme allowing someone to plan and pay for their funeral in advance so their loved ones don’t have to.

Green Funeral: A funeral using environmentally-friendly practices and materials, like natural or biodegradable caskets. Embalming doesn’t occur, and the deceased is often buried at a natural or woodland burial ground.

Humanist Funeral: A funeral that focuses on the life and personality of the deceased, rather than the afterlife, much like a Celebration of Life.

Obituary: An announcement in a newspaper or online of someone’s death. It may outline their life and who they leave behind, and is different to a eulogy.

Pallbearer: Someone who carries or escorts the coffin at a funeral, usually close family members or friends, or a professional.

Probate: The legal authority to manage a loved one’s estate after they die, as per their Will.

If you would like help navigating funeral arrangements or to see how a Funeral Plan could help you, contact us or call 0800 411 8688 and speak to one of our helpful advisors.