Attorney Michael H. White specializes in End of Life Cases
End of life issues are an aspect of Family Law that pertain to the unique issues and needs of people facing immanent death. End of life issues are a specific passion and area of expertise of veteran Los Angeles attorney Michael H. White. He has successfully helped family members resolve medical, financial, health care, and interpersonal problems — to the lasting benefit of the terminally ill and those who care for them.
It is often assumed that “end of life” issues pertain only to the elderly and elder law, but sadly that is not the case. The terminally ill person can be a child, a teenage son or daughter, a sibling or parent, or an older aunt, uncle, grandparent or great-grandparent.
Common “end of life” issues include the physical and mental health deterioration of those who are terminally ill, various health, medical and care decisions that need to be made, complex financial concerns, and the need for caretakers and/or assisted living arrangements—issues that often coincide with the terminally ill person fighting to maintain independence and autonomy.
End of Life Issues – Litigation is not the answer
As the needs and cognitive abilities of a terminally ill person change — especially in those cases where there are substantial financial concerns — disputes often arise among siblings and offspring, particularly in regard to control of assets, decision-making regarding medical treatment, and other issues concerning the well-being of the terminally ill person.
Traditional ways of solving disputes — trials, lawsuits, litigation—are also notoriously expensive, time-consuming, traumatic, and destructive. Outcomes are uncertain, and can be grossly unfair. Traditional litigation is adversarial by nature, and often creates more problems than it solves. “Justice” is often enjoyed by the party with the most expensive lawyer, and collateral damage, especially within families, is far too common.
With end of life issues, decisions often need to be made quickly. But California state budget cuts have made the California court system slow and inflexible, unable to address end-of-life cases in an efficient and timely manner.
Is there a better way to solve end of life issues?
Mediation – A Better Solution for End of Life cases
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution that can be tremendously helpful to the terminally ill and their families. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process in which parties who are unable to resolve a conflict on their own meet with a neutral third party (a mediator) to work out a mutually satisfactory resolution.
Decision-making to protect and guide a terminally ill person is better resolved in a mediation setting than in the inherently adversarial setting of the courts. In mediation, communications among concerned parties is not discouraged, but rather enabled and enhanced. An experienced mediator who understands in the complexities of end of life issues can help the terminally ill, their families and support systems to cope more positively and effectively with their end of life issues, including the dying and grieving processes that will inevitably follow.
Advantages of Mediation for End of Life Issues include:
- Confidentiality—Differences can be worked out in private, not in a public trial
- Cost savings—Legal costs can be dramatically lower
- Fast resolution—Can save months and even years over court-based litigation
- Greater control—The entire process is controlled by the disputing parties
- Better future—Parties can maintain respectful, constructive relationships
End of Life Attorney Michael H. White
Los Angeles attorney, mediator, and arbitrator Michael H. White is an acknowledged authority in Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques for resolving end-of-life, elder law, and family law disputes. Competent, compassionate and creative, Mr. White combines three decades of traditional private-practice litigation in Southern California with more than a decade of leadership in the world of ADR. Both as a college professor and as an active practitioner, Mr. White has become a passionate advocate for mediation and arbitration as a way to create more lasting and productive solutions to end of life issues and conflicts for the terminally ill, seniors, and the disabled.