End of Life Management Glossary

Passare presents a useful Glossary to help you navigate End of Life. Lean more about the important terms and definitions.

Administration

Administration is the process of finalizing or settling the estate of a deceased loved one. This process can be formal or informal depending on a state’s requirements and the size of the deceased’s estate.

Administrator

An administrator carries out final instructions in a will, including the distribution of assets in accordance with the probate process. An administrator is also called an “executor” or “personal representative.” Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD)

An AHD is a legal document that states your final healthcare preferences and helps ensure that your wishes will be carried out if you become unable to speak for yourself. An AHD may include provisions like Palliative or Hospice Care. An AHD is also called a “Living Will.”

Agent

An Agent is a person you choose and trust to make healthcare decisions and speak for you in the event that you become unable to speak for yourself. An Agent is also called a “healthcare agent” or “personal representative.” Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

Asset

An asset is a tangible or intangible personal item with positive economic or financial value. An asset represents value of ownership that can be converted into monetary value.

Assisted Living

An assisted living residence or “assisted living facility” is a long-term care living option that provides personal care and support services like meals, medication management, bathing, dressing, transportation and other practical day-to-day needs.

Attorney-in-Fact

An Attorney-in-Fact is the person named in a Power of Attorney legal document to act on a person’s behalf according to the powers granted in that document. Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

Beneficiary

The beneficiary is the entity or individual(s) who receive benefits from the estate plan, trust, life insurance policy or will of another person.

Burial

Burial or “interment” is the ritual act of placing a deceased loved one’s remains into the ground following final commemoration services.

Burial Plot

A burial plot is a specific parcel of land in which a deceased loved one will be placed after death. A burial plot is also called a “cemetery plot.”

Burial Trust

A burial trust is a contract that a person enters into, often directly with a funeral and/or burial service provider. The funeral home may agree to lock in costs for future funeral or burial services at an agreed upon price. The funeral home sometimes serves as trustee, or manager of trust assets, and a person typically funds the trust with cash, bonds, or life insurance. A revocable burial trust can be changed and revoked by a person at any time. An irrevocable trust can't be changed or revoked, and a person generally does not have access to the funds except to pay for funeral services. A burial trust is also called a “funeral trust.”

Cemetery

A cemetery is a spatially defined area of land or property specifically designated for the remains of deceased loved ones to be buried or otherwise interred.

Cemetery Deed

A cemetery deed is a legal document that identifies ownership of the specific piece of land and location where an individual will be buried.

Cemetery Plot

A cemetery plot is the specific parcel of land that will be excavated in which a deceased person will be buried. A cemetery plot is also called a “burial plot.”

Ceremony

A ceremony is an event that honors the loved one who has died, helps others understand the reality of the death and offers hope to grieving family and friends. It may include appropriate religious or spiritual elements.

Comfort Care

Comfort care, also known as Palliative care or Hospice care, is focused on relieving symptoms and optimizing patient comfort. Comfort care does not seek to cure or treat illness or disease. It may be provided at home or in nursing facilities or hospitals.

Committal Service

A committal service, sometimes called a “graveside service,” is a funeral service that is held at a gravesite or at a mausoleum in a cemetery. Like a traditional service, it provides a final opportunity for mourners to honor and say goodbye to their deceased loved one.

Cremation

Cremation is the use of high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation to reduce a deceased person’s remains to basic chemical compounds. Cremation is done at a crematorium facility that is authorized to perform this service.

Crematorium

A crematorium is a facility that is authorized by law to cremate a deceased person.

Death Certificate

A death certificate is a document that a medical practitioner issues that certifies the deceased state of a person and declares the date, location and cause of the person’s death.

Death Notice

A death notice is statement that is legally required to announce the death of a person. It is most commonly prepared for listing in a newspaper or a legal registry. A death notice differs from an obituary in that it does not include biological facts or a chronological description of milestones in a deceased person’s life.

Digital Assets

Digital assets may include personal email, multimedia, online business and banking transactions, and social media accounts and networking channels.

Digital Estate Plan

A digital estate plan involves identifying and inventorying your digital assets, archiving and storing your digital content, choosing your final wishes for your digital assets and then determining how your wishes will be carried out after your death.

Digital Estate Planning Services

Digital estate planning services are established organizations or online service providers that may help you create a plan to manage digital assets, setup online memorials, and secure and distribute your digital assets according to your instructions after your death.

Digital Executor

A digital executor is a person or online service that you choose to act on your behalf relative to your digital assets after your death. They will distribute or delete your digital assets according to your final wishes as stated in your will. A digital executor should be able to understand and manage the technical aspects associated with digital assets. Ask a capable, trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

Digital Legacy

A digital legacy is what you create when you preserve your digital assets online after your death for future generations.

Direct Burial

A direct burial occurs shortly after death with no formal funeral or committal service. No embalming is necessary since there is no viewing or visitation.

Direct Cremation

A direct cremation occurs shortly after death with no formal funeral or committal service. A funeral service provider may oversee the cremation process and then later return the remains to the family.

Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)

This is a legal document that prevents medical personnel from doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to prolong or save your life.

Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a legal document that gives someone you choose the power to act on your behalf relative to your financial or legal matters in the event that you ever become mentally incapacitated and unable to handle matters on your own. Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

End of Life Care

End of Life care refers to healthcare assistance and support provided to people in the final stages life, including those with a terminal illness or condition that is advanced, progressive and/or incurable. End of Life care may include comfort care, Hospice care, Palliative care, and supportive care or symptom management.

End of Life Management

End of Life Management encompasses the important topics, conversations, plans and decisions that you need to consider when contemplating End-of Life. Important issues include final healthcare and comfort needs, funeral services, legal and financial considerations and personal asset distribution.

End of Life Planning

End of Life planning is the process you will go through to develop a written or recorded actionable End of Life plan that outlines and defines your End of Life wishes. An End of Life plan should include your decisions on asset distribution, financial and legal matters, healthcare directives and funeral preferences.

Estate

An estate is the total accumulation of an individual's assets. There are different subsets of an estate. A probate estate includes all of the assets that must be processed in a probate or court proceeding. A trust estate includes all of assets that are held by a trust. A taxable estate includes all of assets that are subject to estate tax.

Estate Plan

An estate plan is the preparation of a plan to carry out the administration and disposition of a person’s property according to their wishes before or after their death. The goal of an estate plan is to preserve flexibility for the individual as well as to preserve the maximum amount of wealth possible prior to death, in accordance with federal and state tax law.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the transfer or disposition of assets in anticipation of or after a loved one’s death.

Eulogy

A eulogy is a speech or written document spoken or delivered in honor of a deceased loved one, usually during funeral or memorial service.

Executor

An executor is a personal representative appointed by another to carry out their final instructions and wishes after death as documented in a deceased person’s Will. This includes participation in the probate process and distribution of assets. Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

Fiduciary or Fiduciary Power of Attorney (FPOA)

A Fiduciary or FPO gives legal power to the person you appoint to act on your financial matters if you become unable to. You may appoint the same person to serve as your Medical Power of Attorney. Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

Funeral Insurance

Funeral insurance establishes a written, pre-funded document or policy that helps to finance the costs of funeral, cremation or burial expenses.

Funeral Plan

A funeral plan is a written record of your final wishes for your End of Life events and services. It may include your funeral service preferences as well as your choices for flowers, music, readings, speakers or attendees. A copy of the funeral plan is typically stored at a funeral home or in a safe deposit box or a home safe. A funeral plan may or may not be paid for in advance. It should state the location of important documents such as your Will, life insurance policies, birth certificates, marriage license, military records and credit obligations.

Funeral Service

A funeral service is an important end of life event that commemorates a deceased loved one. A funeral provides a time and place for loved ones to grieve and allows friends and family to show their support for each other. A traditional funeral service is typically held within a few days of the death, often with the deceased love one present in a casket. It is held before a cremation or burial in a funeral home, religious place of worship, or a chapel at the cemetery. A funeral service may incorporate an open casket visitation of the loved one’s remains prior to the funeral service, and /or a procession to the burial site immediately following.

Funeral Service Provider

A funeral service provider arranges for the care, moving, preparation and burial or cremation of a deceased person. Additional responsibilities include filing the death certificate or other forms, transferring the body, arranging the funeral, wake or viewing, coordinating with cemetery or crematory representatives and moving the body to the cemetery or crematory. A funeral service provider may also provide support services to a deceased loved one’s family.

Funeral Trust

A funeral trust is a contract that a person enters into with a funeral and/or burial service provider. The trust is often entered into directly with the funeral home, which may agree to lock in costs for future funeral or burial services at an agreed upon price. The funeral home sometimes serves as trustee or manager of trust assets, with a person typically funding the trust with cash, bonds, or life insurance. A revocable funeral trust can be changed and revoked by a person at any time. An irrevocable trust can't be changed or revoked, and a person generally does not have access to the funds except to pay for funeral services. A funeral trust is also called a “burial trust.”

Gathering

A gathering occurs after the graveside or committal service, when friends and family join together to continue to share memories, express their condolences, and share comfort and support with each other. A gathering may either be public and open to anyone to attend, or private with only select family or friends in attendance.

Geriatric Care Manager

A Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults. A Geriatric Care Manager is educated and experienced in several fields related to elder care management, including gerontology, social work and psychology, with a specialized focus on aging and elder care. A GCM may assist in many areas including identifying appropriate housing and home care services, medical management, legal and financial issues and safety and security.

Grave

A grave is an excavated portion of ground in which a deceased loved one is placed or “interred” that is later covered with dirt, clay or cement.

Graveside Service

A graveside service, sometimes called a “committal service,” is a funeral service that is held at a gravesite or at a mausoleum in a cemetery. Like a traditional service, it provides a final opportunity for mourners to honor and say goodbye to their deceased loved one. A speaker often leads and concludes the service.

Headstone

A headstone is a stone tablet set at the head of a grave that is typically inscribed with the name, birth and death date of the deceased loved one. A headstone is also called a “gravestone,” “marker” or “physical memorial,” or “tombstone.”

Healthcare Agent

A Healthcare Agent is a person you choose and trust to make healthcare decisions and speak for you in the event that you become unable speak for yourself. A Healthcare Agent is also simply called an “Agent.” Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

Healthcare Proxy

A Healthcare Proxy is a legal document that allows you to appoint a Healthcare Agent to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to speak on your own behalf. This document, also called an Advance Healthcare Directive, Living Will, Medical Power of Attorney or Treatment Directive, states your choices for medical treatment if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Hospice Care

Hospice care includes medical services, emotional support and spiritual resources for a terminally ill patient with a life expectancy of six months or less. It is engaged when curative treatments are no longer effective or desired. The goal of hospice care is to provide comfort, alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of remaining life. Hospice care also helps family members to care for a dying loved one. Hospice care includes Palliative care.

Interment

Interment is the burial of a deceased loved one’s remains into in a grave or tomb, typically in conjunction with funeral services.

Living Will

A Living Will is a legal document that expresses your wishes for medical care if you become unable to speak or make decisions for yourself, typically at End of Life. Check the laws governing Living Wills in your home state. This document is also called an Advance Healthcare Directive, Healthcare Proxy, Medical Power of Attorney or Treatment Directive.

Long-Term Care

Long-term care is residential care that includes assistance with the basic tasks of everyday life such as bathing, dressing, eating, and other personal needs.

Markers

A marker is a stone tablet set at the head of a grave that is typically inscribed with the name, birth and death date of the deceased loved one. A marker is sometimes called a “gravestone,” headstone,” “physical memorial” or “tombstone.”

Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST)

A MOLST is a physician-signed order that becomes part of your official medical record and explains your wishes for End of Life care. These forms are not used in every state. This form may also be called a “Physicians Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).”

Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA)

A MPOA is a legal document that allows you to legally appoint a Healthcare Agent to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to speak on your own behalf. This document, also called an Advance Healthcare Directive, Healthcare Proxy or Treatment Directive, states your choices for medical treatment if you are unable to speak for yourself. You may appoint the same person to serve as your Financial Power of Attorney. Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

Memorial Service

A memorial service is an event held to remember a deceased loved one and is most commonly held several days to up to a year after burial or cremation. The deceased loved one’s remains are not present. A memorial service is often held when direct burial or direct cremation is selected in place of a funeral.

Monument

A monument is a structure that is created to commemorate a person. It may be a headstone, marker, or physical memorial that is placed at the head of a grave or may be a stand-alone structure dedicated to the memory of a deceased.

Nursing Home Care

This is the highest level of care for elder adults beyond a hospital setting. Nursing homes provide daily living and medical care. Nursing homes have physicians, skilled nurses and other medical professionals like occupational or physical therapists on-staff.

Obituary

An obituary is a written notice to commemorate a deceased loved one that typically includes a biography of facts and milestone events that memorialize a person’s life. It includes information about upcoming funeral or memorial services and may be published online or in a newspaper.

Online Memorial

An online memorial, also called a “virtual memorial,” is a digital space created to commemorate a deceased loved one. Memorials may be as simple as a single HTML webpage showing the deceased loved one’s name and a few words of tribute, or may be more developed, allowing users to add their own words and photos. Content typically includes multimedia including music and videos along with memories and stories provided by friends and family. There may be a timeline that charts the deceased loved one’s life and a family tree to display links with ancestors. There may be a blog or journal to record tributes during the period of bereavement.

Organ Donor Form

If you choose to be an organ donor, this legal form provides proof that you want to donate organs or tissue after your death.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people suffering from a serious illness, either terminal or not terminal. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress resulting from a serious illness with the goal of improving the quality of life for both the patient and the family. It is appropriate for any age and at any stage of a serious illness and may be provided along with curative treatment or during Hospice care at End of Life.

Passare

Passare is an innovative company that is changing the End of Life Management landscape. Passare’s mission is to be the leading resource for consumers to explore, learn, plan and manage End of Life matters.  Passare, which means "to pass" or "passage," is an online service that connects people to trusted experts, resources and service providers to simplify End of Life Management.  Passare helps give you control over one of life's most important passages.

Personal Representative

A personal representative is the person who carries out final instructions in a will, including participation in the probate process and the distribution of assets. This person is also called an “executor” or “administrator.” Ask a trusted friend or loved one to fulfill this responsibility.

Physical Memorial

A physical memorial, often called a “headstone” is a stone tablet set at the head of a grave that is typically inscribed with the name, and birth and death date of the deceased loved one. A headstone is sometimes called a “gravestone,” “marker” or “tombstone.”

Physicians Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

A POLST is a physician-signed order that becomes part of your official medical record and explains your wishes for End of Life care. These forms are not used in every state. This form may also be called a MOLST.

Power of Attorney (POA)

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the power to act on your behalf in the event that you ever become mentally incapacitated. A Power of Attorney document is sometimes known as a "Durable" Power of Attorney for medical care and finances. A Durable Power of Attorney simply means that the document stays in effect if you become incapacitated and unable to handle matters on your own. Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accept this responsibility.

Pre-funded Funeral Plan

A prepaid or pre-funded funeral plan establishes a written and funded document or policy that locks in the costs of funeral, cremation or burial expenses.

Prepaid Funeral Insurance Plan

A prepaid or pre-funded insurance plan establishes a written and funded document or policy that locks in the costs of funeral, cremation or burial expenses.

Premium

A premium is the periodic payment required to keep an insurance policy in force.

Probate

Probate is a court-supervised process by which title to assets are transferred to beneficiaries. Probate is needed to distribute or transfer assets when a deceased person has measurable assets yet no will is in place.

Procession

A procession to the graveside helps families transition from the funeral to the graveside together and accept the finality of the loved one’s death. It provides a symbol of unity and support, as friends and family travel together to the graveside following a deceased loved one’s final services.

Residential Care

Residential care homes offer personalized long-term care to small groups of people who stay in a residential setting rather than in their own home or a family home. Residential care homes are also called “personal care homes” or “board and care homes.”

Supplemental Letter or Video

A supplemental letter or video is an optional document or recording that you may choose to prepare in your own words to help explain your feelings or choices. It may contain instructions not covered in your AHD and discuss additional requests about the process you want others to follow if they must make End of Life decisions for you.

Term Life Insurance

Term Life Insurance offers insurance benefit coverage during a limited number of years. It expires without value if the insured lives for the duration of the defined period, and is often a term of five to 20 years.

Trust

A trust is a set of written directions established by its creator, called the “settlor.” A valid trust must include trust provisions, a trustee, a beneficiary, and assets transferred to the trust. A trust consists of specific directions written by its creator instructing the trustee how to hold property or assets for a beneficiary.

Trustee

A trustee is the person who manages a trust. The primary trustee is the initial manager. A successor trustee can be named after the initial manager resigns or is incapacitated or deceased.

Virtual Memorial

A virtual memorial, also called an “online memorial,” is a digital space created to commemorate a deceased loved one. Memorials can a single HTML webpage with the deceased’s name and a few words of tribute, or may be more extensive. Multimedia content is common, including music, videos and stories and photos provided by friends and family. A timeline of the deceased loved one’s life, a family tree, a blog or journal may be created.

Will

A will, also called a “Last Will and Testament,” is a legal document in which a person states their final wishes for the transfer of their assets after death.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole Life Insurance is also known as Ordinary, Standard or Permanent life insurance. Unlike term insurance, whole life insurance provides insurance coverage for the lifetime of the insured. Whole life insurance policies also provide tax-deferred buildup of cash value, payable upon surrender or payment default. Generally, permanent insurance has fixed premiums and death benefits. Other types of permanent coverage, such as Graded Premium Life, Universal Life, and Variable Life, offer variable premiums and death benefits.

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