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GLOSSARY OF FUNERAL AND CEMETERY TERMS 

Courtesy of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Cemetery and Funeral Bureau

Alternative Container: An unfinished wood box or other non-metal receptacle without ornamentation, often made of fiberboard, pressed wood or composition materials, and generally lower in cost than caskets. 
Casket/Coffin: A box or chest for burying remains. 
Cemetery Property: A grave, crypt or niche. 
Cemetery Services: Opening and closing graves, crypts or niches; setting grave liners and vaults; setting markers; and long-term maintenance of cemetery grounds and facilities. 
Columbarium: A structure with niches (small spaces) for placing cremated remains in urns or other approved containers. It may be outdoors or part of a mausoleum. 
Cremation: Exposing remains and the container encasing them to extreme heat and flame and processing the resulting bone fragments to a uniform size and consistency. 
Crypt: A space in a mausoleum or other building to hold cremated or whole remains. 
Disposition: The placement of cremated or whole remains in their final resting place. 
Endowment Care Fund: Money collected from cemetery property purchasers and placed in trust for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery. 
Entombment: Burial in a mausoleum. 
Funeral Ceremony: A service commemorating the deceased, with the body present. 
Funeral Services: Services provided by a funeral director and staff, which may include consulting with the family on funeral planning; transportation, shelter, refrigeration and embalming of remains; preparing and filing notices; obtaining authorizations and permits; and coordinating with the cemetery, crematory or other third parties. 
Funeral Planning Society: See Memorial Society. 
Grave: A space in the ground in a cemetery for the burial of remains. 
Grave Liner: cover that fits over a casket in a grave. Some liners cover tops and sides of the casket. Others, referred to as vaults, completely enclose the casket. Grave liners minimize ground settling. 
Graveside Service: A service to commemorate the deceased held at the cemetery before burial. 
Headstone: A grave marker or monument marking the gravesite. 
Interment: Burial in the ground, inurnment or entombment. 
Inurnment: The placing of cremated remains in an urn. 
Mausoleum: A building in which remains are buried or entombed. 
Memorial Service: A ceremony commemorating the deceased, without the body present. 
Memorial Society: An organization that provides information about funerals and disposition, but is not part of the state-regulated funeral industry. 
Niche: A space in a columbarium, mausoleum or niche wall to hold an urn. 
Urn: A container to hold cremated remains. It can be placed in a columbarium or mausoleum, or buried in the ground. Vault: A grave liner that completely encloses a casket

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