Make a Move This Movember!

November 7, 2018

The Horseshoe, the Fu Manchu, the Lampshade… how do you wear your mustache? Movember is officially here! Men around the world are showcasing their facial hair throughout the month of November to raise awareness for specific health issues like suicide, testicular cancer, and prostate cancer.

Movember is about encouraging men to proactively embrace regular health evaluations to help ensure early detection of serious illnesses. Another proactive essential during Movember is to implement the proper legal documents in the event you have to undergo major surgery or another life altering event. Below is a list of both medical and legal necessities that every male individual should consider this Movember.

Early Detection is Key

At the core of Movember’s message is the idea that early screenings can protect your overall health. Specifically, for men, who tend to seek medical attention less frequently than women, it is important to know what areas you may be vulnerable in based on genetics and other factors.

Family Discussion

Talk with your family. Find out if you have any genetic predispositions or illnesses that a family member may have, like Prostatitis or heart disease. Let your doctors know so that they can recommend screenings to ensure they keep track of specific areas of concern. Likewise, talk to your family about inevitable legal and financial concerns, such as who will care for each other in times of illness. How will this care get funded? Is there a need for full disclosure of bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc.?

Get Tested

Early detection can save your life and minimize long-term damage. Men should be proactive about getting tested in the following areas:

  • Mental Health Evaluations: Take the time to evaluate your mental health with a mental health professional. Especially if you or someone in your family have a history of anxiety or depression, early detection will allow you to get the help you need in order to overcome any problems you may be facing.
  • Digital Rectal Exam: Not the most pleasant but can be life saving. The prostate is an internal organ and your doctor cannot look at it directly. The prostate lies in front of the rectum, and the physician can palpate the prostate by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. This is an important exam because it allows the doctor or nurse to detect certain abnormalities.
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: A test that calculates the amount of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance produced by the prostate gland. Elevated PSA levels could indicate, a noncancerous condition such as prostatitis, an enlarged prostate, or prostate cancer.
  • Testicular Self-Exam: The self-assessment can be done at home ideally after your shower or bath. You examine each testicle with both hands. You place your middle and index fingers under the testicle. Firmly but gently roll the testicle between your thumbs and fingers to feel for any abnormalities.

Get Organized

Aside from medical precautions, there are some crucial legal documents that EVERYONE should set up while they are still healthy:

  • Health Care Surrogate document allows you to plan ahead for difficult medical decisions.  It allows you to name someone (the “agent”) that will make health care decisions for you in case you are unable to make them yourself. This is crucial because it prevents disagreements within the family as to who should make these critical decisions.  Such decisions include consenting to certain medical procedures, seeking a second opinion, obtaining medical records, or transferring you to a different medical facility.
  • Living Will allows you to state your wishes about your end-of-life medical care. This allows your health care surrogate (person you nominate to make medical decisions for you) to best carry out your health care wishes in regards to life sustaining procedures.  Living Wills include a set of legal instructions about the treatment you wish to receive if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.  You can revoke or revise a valid Living Will at any time.
  • The most common Power of Attorney is the Durable Power of Attorney sometimes referred to as a financial power of attorney, general power of attorney, or a power of attorney for property. It allows you (the “principal”) to select a person (the “agent”) to “step into your shoes” if you become mentally or physically incapacitated. Incapacity means that a person has a disabling medical condition that prevents them from managing their basic needs and financial affairs. Incapacity can be caused by a number of conditions including Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s, etc. With a properly executed Power of Attorney, the agent will be able to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. This is a very trusting responsibility, so you should always appoint a family member or close friend. The Power of Attorney document stops working when a person passes away. At which point, your Trust or Last Will and Testament (“Will”) should dictate the terms of how to distribute your estate.
  • You can also make Charitable Gifts through a Trust or specific bequest in a Will. While the bulk of your estate will likely go to your closest family members, there may be a little extra to give to worthwhile causes such as the Movember Foundation, which is an organization committed to help prevent untimely deaths in men.

Contact OC Estate and Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or this Movember to learn about the crucial legal documents that can help protect your family.