Planned Giving: Estate Gift Provides Direction in Uncertain Times

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Katherine & Emmett Ferretti
Katherine & Emmett Ferretti

Joan Wright couldn’t be more pleased that her late parents included Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham in their wills. She says Katherine and Emmett Ferretti would be delighted to know their gift, which will be used to build a “wayfinding” kiosk to help visitors navigate the campus, would provide direction in uncertain times.

“To me, this is a divine intervention,” says Wright, one of the Ferrettis’ six children. “This is a tribute to what was important to them – providing information others need. Generally, when you are in the hospital, it is a time of stress. While we only specified their gift be given ‘to the greatest need,’ it’s very appropriate that my parents could meet this need.”

In addition to providing for each child upon the couple’s death, Emmett ensured the children knew several Catholic charities would be beneficiaries, including Ascension St. Vincent’s. The family was so dedicated to their Catholic faith that when Emmett suffered a Sunday morning heart attack when Wright was seven years old, she was shocked to realize it would be the first Sunday in her life she would not go to Mass.

“Faith was extremely important to them, and after that heart attack, health also became a priority,” Wright says. “My grandfather had died of a heart attack in his late-50’s, and after my father had his first heart attack in his late 40’s, he took his health very seriously.”

Emmett so carefully followed his Ascension St. Vincent’s physicians’ instructions that he redefined his family’s cardiovascular history, living to age 81. Katherine lived to age 94. Emmett participated in a cardiovascular exercise program at Ascension St. Vincent’s as faithfully as the family attended church. Several of his grandchildren were so influenced by his dedication to wellness that they pursued medical careers.

“Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham nursed my mother back to health after her late-in-life stroke,” says Wright. “Some of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren were born there. That’s why all of us were glad our parents not only specified Ascension St. Vincent’s in their estate planning, but that my father made their wishes clear. None of us were surprised when we saw how the estate was distributed, because charitable giving as part of our Catholic faith was ingrained in us. This gift was a demonstration of how committed our parents were to their faith and to us.”

The Ferrettis’ gift demonstrates the importance of what is often called “Planned Giving.” By designating Ascension St. Vincent’s as a beneficiary of their estate, Katherine and Emmett Ferretti extended their legacy of faith and service to the entire community. We are very grateful for their generous gift.

The Ferrettis’ wayfinding kiosk, staffed by a volunteer, will provide direction to patients and visitors, representing the direction they provided their children throughout their lives. “I would encourage people to think about their legacy gift or ways they would like their generosity remembered when they are not here,” says Wright. “Knowing our parents’ wishes helped us honor their commitment to faith, family, and health.”

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