Glossary of Terms
Burial Permit | Casket
| Cemetery Regulations | Columbarium
| Cremation | Crypt |
Death Certificate | Embalming
| Final Disposition | Mausoleum
| Mortuary | Niche
| Opening & Closing Fees | Perpetual
Care Fund | Price List | Transportation
Service | Urn | Vault
Burial Permit - In Hawaii, a "Burial Transit Permit," issued
by the Department of Health, is required for human remains to be
cremated or buried. The mortuary or cremation service provider is
usually responsible for obtaining this permit. A permit is not required
for the inurnment or scattering of ashes.
Casket - A container that is designed for the encasement
of human remains, usually constructed of wood, metal or like materials,
and ornamented and lined with fabric, and may or may not be combustible.
Consumer Alert: There are no state
or federal laws that require bodies be placed in a casket for burial,
if the burial is done within 30 hours, or if the body has been kept
in a certified freezer at a crematory or mortuary. Consumers should
be aware that Federal Trade Commission regulations allow for the
purchase of caskets from 3rd party sources. Casket prices vary greatly
from company to company. Comparison shopping is suggested.
Cemetery Regulations - Most cemeteries have written regulations
which govern such things as visitation hours, restrictions on tombstone
styles and sizes, length of time flowers may be left on a grave,
types of memorial items allowed to be placed on a grave, parking
restrictions, etc. These regulations vary from cemetery to cemetery.
Oahu Cemetery issues all new plot, crypt or niche owners written
Columbarium - A structure or building used for the placement
of urns (see Niche).
Cremation - The regulated process of reducing human remains
to bone fragments (i.e. "ashes") through intense heat and evaporation
in a cremation chamber. The building which houses cremation chambers
is called a crematory. Generally, it takes 2 hours to cremate human
remains, with the cremated remains usually weighing 4-8 pounds.
Crypt - An individual chamber within a mausoleum for casket
Death Certificate - Legal document containing vital statistics
pertaining to the life and death of the deceased. In Hawaii, death
certificates are issued by the State Department of Health and signed
by the attending physician. A signed death certificate is required
before a Burial Transit Permit will be issued.
Embalming - A procedure where chemicals are injected and/or
topically applied to human remains for temporary preservation.
Consumer Alert: Although
it is generally believed by consumers that embalming is required
by law, it is not in most states. State laws stipulate that unembalmed
bodies be refrigerated in a state approved facility, cremated or
buried within 30 hours. An unembalmed body may be placed in a certified
freezer at a crematory or mortuary for temporary storage. In Hawaii,
long-term storage in freezer facilities is generally not allowed.
(Note: In states where the ground freezes over in the winter, bodies
are commonly kept in freezers until the spring when the ground thaws.
- Refers to the manner in which remains will be placed after death,
e.g. ground burial (interment), urn burial (inurnment), columbarium
or mausoleum placement, or ash scattering.
- A structure or building used for the placement of caskets.
Mortuary - A licensed business, regulated by the State Department
of Health, which provides for the care, planning, and preparation
for final disposition or transportation of human remains. Services
generally include the arranging and conducting of funeral and memorial
services, embalming and cosmetic restoration, sale of caskets, urns
and other funeral merchandise.
Niche - An individual chamber within a columbarium for urn
Opening & Closing Fees - Cemeteries typically charge a separate
fee for opening and closing a grave, niche or crypt at the time
of burial or inurnment.
Consumer Alert: Make sure
that this is not a "hidden" fee that appears only on the final billing.
It is recommended that consumers ask about this service at the initial
consultation with the mortuary or cemetery.
Care Fund - State and federal laws require that a certain portion
of the cost of a plot, niche or crypt be placed in an irrevocable
trust fund, administered by a trustee or board of trustees. These
funds may only be used for the perpetual care, maintenance and upkeep
of cemetery grounds and facilities.
Alert: The level or "care" provided by a cemetery varies
from site to site. Consumers should inquire about the status of
a prospective cemetery's trust fund, and their on-going maintenance
- A Federal Trade Commission regulation mandates that all mortuaries
and cremation service providers provide consumers with a written
Consumer Alert: Consumers
should be aware that prices for services and products may vary widely
from mortuary to mortuary. Price shopping is suggested.
Service - A commercial operator who transports human remains
from the hospital (or other location) to the mortuary or crematory.
The mortuary or cremation service provider is usually responsible
for arranging for this service.
- A generic term for any container used for the placement of cremated
remains (ashes). In general, there are no laws or regulations governing
the size, shape or materials used for urns. However, size may be
a factor with regards to final disposition.
A rigid container (usually made of concrete or polypropylene), placed
in the ground used to prevent leakage of toxic body substances into
the soil. Vaults, with removable lids, are also used to store multiple
urns, placed at various times.