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Laura Pyle
Laura R. Pyle

Wills and Power of Attorney

Guardianship and Special Needs Trusts

Conservation Easements

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McCaskey Law circa 1980
McCaskey Law's first office, 1980.

This photo is from the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record. It accompanied a story with the headline:

"Attorney Scorns Fancy Trappings: Takes Neighborly Approach."

Photo caption: "David McCaskey, Weyers Cave's only attorney, stands outside his office."

Harrisonburg Daily News-Record, Saturday, November 22, 1980 — photo by Michael Reilly

Wills and Power of Attorney

Wills and Power of Attorney are the two basic legal documents that everyone needs. Your Will both explains what is to happen to your property after your death and provides your survivors with guidance in how to proceed with putting those decisions into effect. Wills can be very simple or of significant complexity, depending upon the goals that are to be reached. The probate of Wills in Virginia is a straightforward process with much less expense than is the case in a number of other states.

A Durable Power Of Attorney provides authority for one or more trusted individuals to act on your behalf during your lifetime should you become incapacitated.

The medical provisions of a Durable Power of Attorney are extremely important in that they allow the person(s) that you have selected to make treatment decisions in a long-term care situation before any directions that you may make in a living will come into effect. The business provisions of a Durable Power of Attorney enable the person(s) that you have selected to manage your resources to your best advantage without having to petition the Court for appointment of a Guardian.

Most Wills can be prepared for a fee of $225, a Spouse's Mirror Will $350, a Codicil $100, and a standard Power Of Attorney $150. Preparation with special language or additional research will be billed at the hourly rate.

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Guardianships and Special Needs Trusts

If a person becomes incapacitated without having a Durable Power Of Attorney, it is necessary to petition the Circuit Court to appoint a Guardian to make both personal and business decisions for the incapacitated person. This step must often be taken at a time of crisis, and competent counsel is necessary in order to minimize both expense and delay.

Guardianship petitions are also frequently filed when a disabled child is about to turn eighteen, when the parents’ legal authority ends, in order to provide guidance and protection for someone who is incapable of dealing with life’s complexities on his or her own.

Special Needs Trusts are agreements prepared and funded either directly or by will which make resources available to ensure the quality of life of disabled persons who are dependent upon income-based programs such as SSI and MEDICAID without putting their eligibility for those programs at risk.

Special Needs Trusts are useful when a disabled person recives a significant gift or bequest, and are an important planning tool for the families of disabled persons. Mr. McCaskey has over thirty years of experience in working with Guardianship issues as an advocate for Guardianship, as a  guardian ad litem  representing the interests of the proposed subject of a Guardianship, and as an advocate for those fighting to retain their independence.

A fee of $200 per hour is charged for work done in Guardianship and Special Needs Trust matters. Guardianship proceedings involve the further expenses of court filing fees and the payment of a  guardian ad litem,  who is a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the interests of the person for whom the guardianship is sought.

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Office Desk View

Conservation Easements

Conservation Easements are a useful tool to preserve rural areas and to protect historic sites and environmentally vulnerable areas such as riparian zones by limiting development.

These easements are an agreement with an organization such as the Virginia Outdoors Foundation or a government agency such as the the Virginia Department of Historic Resources setting out specific permanent restrictions on the use of land and are monitored by those organizations or agencies to ensure that the land continues to be used in a way that is consistent with their stated purposes.

Although they are permanent, each is tailored to protect the landowners' continued use of the property, and generally do not allow public access or use. Because they prohibit development, conservation easements have the immediate effect of reducing the market value of property, which can be useful in terms of estate planning, and which may result in the availability of significant tax deductions for the donor.

A fee of $200 per hour is charged for work on conservation easements. There are often addtional expenses for appraisal and survey work involved in completing these projects.

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Cedar Row in Spring Hill
Cedar Row at Spring Hill
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