Funerals are Hard Enough Without the Jargon

Like any vocation, the funeral industry is full of professional terminology and jargon. However, to anyone who isn’t exposed to these phrases regularly, they can be hard to decipher. That frustration can be made even worse for those navigating the torrent of emotions of arranging a funeral for a loved one. At, Whitsunday Funerals & Crematorium, we hope to ease those frustrations by breaking down those commonly used phrases and words for you.


An Administrator is a person who takes on the responsibility of managing the estate of a deceased person if they died ‘Intestate’ or without a Will.

Administering the Estate

The duties which the Executor or Estate Administrator must carry out to establish the value of all of the deceased’s assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries.


A complete examination of the deceased by a coroner or doctor to determine the cause of death. This is usually only performed if the cause of death is unknown or was unexpected.


An individual who is designated to receive property or funds from a deceased person’s estate.


(noun) Someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one.
(adjective) To feel greatly saddened by the death of a loved one.

Bereavement Leave

A period of paid or unpaid time off work after the death of a loved one.


An asset left to a beneficiary of a Will.


A secure stand that a coffin or casket is placed upon for viewing purposes. Sometimes referred to as a ‘Catafalque’.

Body Donation

The act of bequeathing your body to a medical school for scientific research after you have died. Not to be confused with Organ Donation.

Burial Plot

An area of a cemetery reserved in advance by a person or family for their burial when they die.

Burial Permit

A legal document, which the funeral director obtains on your behalf, authorising the burial, cremation or scattering.


A rectangular box constructed from wood, used to hold a deceased as it has a hinged lid. They are commonly used for viewings and traditional burials.

Celebration of Life

A funeral or memorial service which focuses on the positive memories of the person who has died rather than following the traditional protocols of a funeral service.


A large room located in a funeral home in which funerals or memorial services can be held.


A body-shaped box that is tapered at the head and foot and wide at the shoulders. Coffins are the more common choice for cremations.

Commemorative Service

A service or ceremony in memory of the deceased, without the presence of the body.


A local Government official responsible for the investigation of the circumstances of someone’s death.


The procession of vehicles, usually led by the hearse, which progresses from the funeral service to the cemetery or crematorium. Also known as the Funeral Procession. In Australia, there are varying road roles for a Cortege. In Queensland and New South Wales, the rules state that a driver must not interfere or interrupt a funeral procession. There is currently no law regarding funeral processions in Victoria. Please check your own state’s legislation regarding Corteges.


The reduction of a deceased’s remains into ash.

Death Benefits

When a person dies, the bereaved may be eligible for Death Benefits through the deceased’s superannuation. More information may be obtained from the Australian Tax Office.

Death Certificate

A legal document that is issued by the Government certifying the death of a person, along with particulars of the death, identifying particulars and remaining family.

Direct Burial

A simple burial with no viewing or visitation.

Direct Cremation

A simple cremation with no ceremony, viewing or visitation.


The process of conserving the body by circulating preservatives and antiseptic fluid through the body, arteries and veins.


A speech celebrating the deceased’s life. Often discusses fond memories, accomplishments and something they may have been known for. For advice on preparing a Eulogy, please see our insights.


The person nominated by the deceased’s Will to carry out the administration of the estate.

Funeral Escort

Law enforcement or other individuals who escort a funeral procession to the cemetery.

Fiduciary Duties

\When the Executor or Estate Administrator holds, in Trust, money or other assets on behalf of the beneficiaries to be distributed at a later date.

Floral Tribute

Flowers sent to the family of the deceased person out of sympathy or respect.

Funeral Arrangements

The making of the decisions to prepare and coordinate the funeral.

Funeral Director

A professional who assists the family of a deceased with the legal, spiritual and practical preparations for a funeral.

Funeral Notice

Also known as Obituary. An announcement in the newspaper or other specified publications detailing the funeral arrangements including date, time and location of the service.

Funeral Service

A ceremony to memorialise a deceased person. Often there the body is present.


A grave identifier often made of stone or metal with information such as the person’s name, nickname, date of birth and date of death. Sometimes they are called funeral monuments or markers. They can be either upright or at ground level.


A purpose-built vehicle designed for transportation of a deceased coffin or casket to a gravesite or crematorium.


To die without a Will in Testament. For more information on the Queensland legislation regarding dying intestate, please refer to the Public Trustee.

Memorial Service

A ceremony held in honour of the deceased without the body being present. In case of a cremation, the urn containing the ashes may or may not be present.


A room, usually in a hospital or funeral home where the bodies of the deceased are kept and cared for before they are collected for their funeral.


Also known as a Funeral Notice. An announcement in the newspaper or other specified publications detailing the funeral arrangements including date, time and location of the service.

Organ Donation

The act of donating a deceased’s organs and tissue for transplant to a person in need. To learn more about organ donation visit Donate Life. To register as a donor, please fill out this form.


A person who helps carry or escort the coffin or casket during the funeral.


The legal authority to manage a loved one’s estate. There are time limits and asset specifications relating to Probate. More information about the Probate process can be found with Canstar. However, it is best to seek legal advice regarding your rights and responsibilities concerning Probate.

Totten Trust

Also known as a Discretionary Trust. Funds specifically allocated to cover the anticipated funeral costs. When the covered person dies, the money is automatically passed to the designated beneficiary without having to go through Probate.


Sometimes referred to as an Ashes Casket, an urn is a container for holding a deceased’s ashes after cremation.


An event that enables bereaved to see the body of the deceased in private either before or after a funeral service. Usually, this happens in a room separate to the funeral service.


An informal time for visitation and remembrance of a deceased person. Wakes are often held after the funeral and burial service. Sometimes referred to as the ‘post-funeral reception’.


While this is an extensive list, there are other words and phrases you may come across while arranging a funeral. For more information or further clarity around some of these terms, please contact the team at Whitsunday Funerals & Crematorium.