Lee Law Office October 2019

Lee Law News

www.mleelaw.com 804-204-1500

October 2019

It All Starts With Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and it affects millions of people with over 250,000 new cases reported every year. Most of us know someone who had this disease or is fighting it right now. My grandmother, Catherine Tucker, died following a battle with breast cancer in 1989. We were young at the time, but that loss sticks with us to this day. Over the years, we’ve also experienced the loss of several of our clients to the disease and we’ve worked with others who are still in the fight. Many tell us stories of finding out their diagnosis and how it caught them completely off guard. That’s the reality of breast cancer and, really, any kind of cancer. It can seem to appear out of the blue and has the potential to change your life. Even with modern advances in health care and technology, there are no guarantees. That’s one of the reasons we talk about medical directives with our clients, because it can be a crucial part of an estate plan. Many people say they are too young to have a will or an estate plan. These same people say they don’t need to worry about drafting a medical directive because they are healthy today. But here’s the truth: Even the healthiest people in the prime of life can, and do, fall ill. When that happens, if you are unconscious or are otherwise unable to speak for yourself, who will speak for you? A medical directive defines who has the right to make decisions for you. The directive lays out your explicit instructions for doctors and caregivers, as well as your family and heirs. It helps avoid confusion and many other serious issues.

Norma broke her wrist in August, and every time she saw a new doctor, one of the main questions they asked was if she had a medical directive. It might not seem relevant in all cases, but your medical care matters and this directive can make all the difference. If you do not currently have a medical directive, give it some thought. If you have questions or you want to sit down with your family and discuss your options, we are here to help you determine a good next step. We can’t think of a better month to have this conversation. It really all starts with awareness. Events like Race for the Cure help bring topics surrounding cancer to the forefront. These events also spread awareness of just how many people are impacted by cancer — most

of us — and send the message that you should never take your health for granted, especially as you get older. Getting regular cancer screenings is an important part of staying healthy. Many forms of cancer, including breast cancer, have gotten easier to spot early, which means they can be addressed earlier. And when it comes to cancer, the earlier, the better. This month, make a point to not only get screened, if you haven’t recently, but to also establish a medical directive. If you aren’t sure where to start, we are here to help.

-Melanie M. Lee

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