ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- It's a tough topic to talk about, but one experts say isn't discussed enough; what happens to my belongings, finances, assets, etc., when I pass away? Community leaders in Elmira wanted to take a lighthearted approach on the topic through an informal forum called 'I'm Dead. Now What?

"My husband passed away several years ago and it was a nightmare," says Gale Sheets, who lives in Elmira. 

Situations like that are what most people would like to avoid for their loved ones. Financial advisors and estate lawyers were on-hand to tackle a tough, but critical topic: end-of-life planning. 

"I came tonight to make sure I'm doing everything right, everything is filed correctly, and I did learn a couple of things I probably should change," Sheets says. 

"Basically a theme that was revolving was the importance of having documents in place, both for death and while you're alive. And I think the eye-opening topic of how your assets are titled was astonishing to people, and they didn't realize that your Will doesn't just control everything," says Sean Hanrahan, an attorney with Mustico Law Firm. 
The discussion covered a variety of topics from wills, estate liquidation, planned giving, and more.

"It can be a pretty in-depth process, but it's something that it's a real kindness to your loved ones if you tackle that, get those things in place, it makes it far easier for those left behind to deal with that, on top of the grief of loss," says Tracy Wiles, Financial Advisor with Elmira Savings Bank.  

"There isn't enough of these types of meetings or forums where people can come and actually get these questions answered. Let's be honest, a lot of people don't want to call an attorney for $250 to ask a question. These things are fantastic!" adds Hanrahan. 

People who attended the event were given workbooks to help guide them through the planning process. Everyone involved said they hope there are more events like this offered to the community in the future.