Planning a funeral can be overwhelming. If you choose to preplan arrangements, it may relieve your loved ones of the weight of decision-making, which is why many choose to work with a funeral home to preplan. During the arrangement conference, a funeral director will review all of your options, but it may be helpful to have a basic knowledge of what’s involved in the planning and implementation of the services.

Here are 12 terms that will most likely come up during your meeting with a funeral director:

Celebrant – a professional who can prepare and conduct personalized funeral services. This can be a priest or religious leader, or a chosen spiritual leader who will perform the funeral service. A funeral director will coordinate with the celebrant in the days leading up to the funeral.

Cash Advances – money a funeral home may have to pay in advance on behalf of the bereaved. These items are not included on the funeral home’s price list. These items can include payments to florists, news outlets for the obituary notice, and to individuals including pallbearers, musicians, or clergy.

Direct Cremation – a cremation that takes place without a funeral service or memorial service. There is no embalming or visitation, so a direct cremation is a simple, less expensive option. Cash advances used for direct cremation cover the cremation permit and copies of the death certificate.

Funeral Insurance – an insurance policy that pays the costs associated with a preplanned funeral. Funds from this policy are allocated for funeral and burial costs, separate from a life insurance policy.

Funeral Rule – a series of consumer price protections related to the goods and services offered by funeral homes, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. When you sit down to preplan, the funeral director will provide you with a general price list for arrangements. All prices for goods and services related to the funeral services must be disclosed in writing.

Funeral Service – a ceremony that takes place at the funeral home or another venue with the body present. Memorials or celebrations of life may take the place of a traditional funeral service. Funeral services provide surviving family and friends with an atmosphere of care and support to grieve and recognize the bereaved.

Gathering/Viewing/Visitation – a formal or informal function, with or without the deceased’s body. This is also known as a wake. This gives people an opportunity to say their goodbyes to the deceased or give condolences to the grieving family and friends.

General Price List –  a document that provides pricing and disclosures of services and merchandise offered at a funeral home. Items may include funeral directors and staff services; coordinating service plans; arrangement conferences; clerical assistance; assistance with probate, veteran or insurance benefits; securing death certificates, burial or cremation permits; embalming; dressing and casketing; use of facilities; and use of equipment and staff for services.

Prepaid Funeral Trust –  a fund that is paid to a funeral home in advance when a funeral is preplanned. The funds in the trust earn interest until the funeral and are 100% funded when the account is opened.

Preneed Insurance – an insurance policy that pays costs associated with a preplanned funeral. The funds are distributed directly to the funeral home to cover expenses at the time of need.

Preplanning – the plans made ahead of time for the funeral are coordinated with a funeral home. Preplanned funerals do not need to be funded ahead of time, but can be through a prepaid funeral trust or preneed insurance.

Statement of Funeral Goods and Services – an itemized list of the goods and services selected during the funeral arrangement. This list must be in compliance with the Funeral Rule, so all prices will be disclosed in writing prior to the funeral services.

When you sit down to discuss funeral arrangements, no question is too simple. This is your time to plan and understand your responsibilities and how the funeral home will honor your wishes. To speak with one of our funeral directors about preplanning options, contact us here.