“Wisdom for Wealth. For Life.” Episode 34: Navigating Unexpected Loss and Inheriting an Estate

Life can bring us through unexpected circumstances that we don’t feel prepared to handle. David and Melisenda Stone’s financial situation changed drastically when both of David’s parents died within a short timeframe.

In a recent podcast with Blue Trust private wealth advisor, Daniel Chacon, and clients, the Stones, shared how they’re navigating the journey through grief while learning to wisely steward a new inheritance.

A Series of Devastating Diagnoses 

The Stones’ circumstances began to unfold during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time that was already confusing and difficult for most Americans. “A few months into the pandemic, my dad was diagnosed with cancer,” Daniel explains. “We weren’t able to visit with my parents during his treatment because we didn’t want to expose him to an outside sickness.”

While his dad seemed to be getting better, David’s mother began experiencing worrisome forgetfulness. She was diagnosed in August 2020 with an aggressive brain cancer. Despite undergoing chemotherapy, she declined quickly and passed away just six months later.

David’s father meanwhile began to experience mysterious new symptoms. “His knee would randomly give out, he would fall every now and then, and he would lose his balance and need to use a walker sometimes. We then started seeing problems in his arms and wrists. We really didn’t know what was going on,” David says. “He was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that was slowly attacking the nerves and muscles in his body.”

Sadly, David’s father passed away in 2021, only a short time after his mother had passed.

Managing an Unexpected Inheritance 

David and Melisenda acknowledge that, in addition to being blindsided by grief, they felt completely unsure of what to do next. At the age of 29, David had no idea how to manage an unexpected inheritance, especially since his mother had always handled financial decisions on behalf of his father and sister growing up. His parents also owned multiple properties that needed to be sold.

The first critical step the Stones took was to enlist wise professional counsel. A neighbor of the Stones, Chacon was able to offer financial guidance and reassurance during a time of great ambiguity. Not only did Blue Trust help the family settle the estate, Chacon was able to design for them a financial plan and roadmap for the inheritance going forward.

Using the inheritance, David and Melisenda prioritized three important objectives: (1) purchase a home, (2) live debt-free, and (3) increase their generosity. They made a substantial payment on a home for their young family, which had grown to include a baby daughter. The Stones are grateful for the opportunity to own a home in Southern California, a goal they hadn’t expected to reach until much later in life.

The next step was to pay off the student debt that loomed over them. “I believe that our parents would want us to live debt-free because that’s something they never had themselves,” Melisenda says.

Giving came next. The Stones were attracted to Blue Trust’s commitment to Christian financial principles and philosophy about generosity. “We embrace the idea that God owns it all and we shouldn’t hold money tightly. It’s exciting to be at a place to give more because we now have more,” David explains. “My hope is to go beyond tithing and be spontaneous in our giving and our ability to bless others.”

The Stones also learned that grief can coexist with joy as they slowly adjust to life without their parents. “We all have questions at some point about why God allows things like cancer and sickness to happen. Rejoice and praise God anyway as you allow yourself to grieve,” David says.

Melisenda adds, “It’s important to be diligent in whatever season of life you’re going through. The happiest people are generous, either with their finances, love, time, or talents. There’s something beautiful about being an encourager and cheering others on.”

If you need assistance with financial or estate planning and would like to talk to a Blue Trust advisor, please get in touch with us at 800.987.2987 or email blog@bluetrust.com.

“It’s important to be diligent in whatever season of life you’re going through. The happiest people are generous, either with their finances, love, time, or talents. There’s something beautiful about being an encourager and cheering others on.

– Melisenda Stone

In our “Wisdom for Wealth. For Life.” podcast series, we share financial advice and wisdom from our network of wealth advisors, thought leaders in the industry, and our community of over 12,000 financially blessed families who apply biblical wisdom to their financial planning and giving.

The podcast is available across most major podcast networks. If you enjoy this episode, please consider rating the podcast and sharing it with friends and family wherever you listen to podcasts:

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