Kara Gansmann devotes her entire practice to elder law and estate planning in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP (CSH Law).  Kara is especially well-suited for this practice thanks to her strong interpersonal skills, her diplomatic demeanor, and pragmatic approach to problem-solving.  She brings a solid sense of collegiality to her work with both clients and professionals, alike.

In private consultations, Kara counsels individuals and families on tactics for estate planning, asset-protection, and long-term care planning.  Kara drafts wills, powers of attorney, and trusts, including pet trusts and special needs trusts. Kara also advises clients on eligibility and applications for Medicaid, Special Assistance, and certain Veterans’ Benefits.

In the courtroom, Kara represents clients in trust and estate administration matters, will caveats, guardianship/incompetency proceedings, and fiduciary litigation.  Kara also represents clients in administrative hearings for public benefits such as Medicaid and Medicare denials.

Kara’s experienced team of professionals offers clients additional efficiency in legal transactions.  These competent paralegals assist clients in matters ranging from probate to care-giver agreements or promissory notes to real estate transactions intended for asset protection. Kara’s team also includes a certified geriatric care senior advisor, who assists with placement in care facilities.  Kara’s entire team understands the urgency and stress associated with elders’ needs.

Prior to joining CSH Law, Kara served as a staff attorney on an appellate court in Houston, Texas.  There, she managed all aspects of complex civil and criminal appellate matters and drafted over 200 judicial opinions for court justices in six years.  Because of this unique experience, Kara advises her litigation clients on effective trial strategies for successful appeals.

Kara frequently presents on elder law issues to community organizations, churches, and neighborhood associations across Southeastern North Carolina.  She is a prolific writer on legal issues affecting seniors.  She is also a devoted mother, wife, daughter, and niece to all the important people in her life.

Representative Matters

Cases or matters referenced do not represent the attorney’s entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results.

  • Obtained guardianships on behalf of out-of-state and in-state clients to protect family members with dementia
  • Obtained guardianships on behalf of clients to protect family members with mental illness
  • Obtained Medicaid-compliant annuities to assist community spouses
  • Obtained Medicaid eligibility and approval for single clients and married clients
  • Obtained an Order in estate administration that required an executor to return to the estate legal fees, commissions, and other administrative costs estimated to be in excess of $100,000 based on inaccurate inventories and accountings filed during probate.
  • Assisted in successful defense on appeal of a trial court’s dismissal of legal malpractice claims against an attorney on grounds that the attorney was judicially immune as a quasi-judicial officer when he served as a court-appointed commissioner to oversee the partition sale of real property owned by the a plaintiff as a co-tenant.

Articles, Presentations, and Publications

  • Presenter, The New North Carolina Power of Attorney Act, CSH Law Firm Seminar (November 9, 2017, Raleigh, North Carolina)
  • Author of manuscript, “Medicaid Estate Recovery” presented by Andrew W. Olsen for National Business Institute’s CLE “Medicaid Update 2017” (November 7, 2017, Raleigh, North Carolina)
  • Author, How Seniors Can Afford Long Term Care Without Spending Their Life Savings, Business North Carolina (August 2017)
  • Author of manuscript for CLE “What are Trusts? Main Trust Principles” as presented by Andrew W. Olsen for National Business Institute’s CLE “Trusts from A to Z” (June 30, 2017, Wilmington, North Carolina)
  • Kara is a regular contributor to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal Insights column.
  • Author, A Retailer’s Guide to Use of Video Surveillance Evidence to Defend itself in Litigation, The Retailer magazine (2017)
  • Presenter, Liability Issues with Free-Speech Rights in the Workplace, CSH Law Firm Seminar (October 2016, Raleigh, North Carolina)
  • Author, The Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Corporations to Opt Out of Contraceptive Mandate in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014)
  • Author, Government Speech. It’s What’s for Dinner, 82 N.D. L. Rev. 519 (2006)

Most Recent Posts


Kara Gansmann Featured in NCBA E-Bar

Glasses on Stack of Paper Work

Kara Gansmann’s latest Insights article was featured in the March 13 e-bar by the North Carolina Bar Association. “Use a Pet Trust to Ensure Your Pet’s Care” explains how a trust can ensure a pet’s care after its owner has passed or is no longer able to manage its care.… Read More


Kara Gansmann Plans 22nd Annual Elder & Special Needs Law Symposium

Kara Gansmann | Appellate Law Attorney Wilmington

Kara Gansmann recently served as planner for the 22nd Annual Elder & Special Needs Law Symposium that was held Feb. 22-23, 2018 in Pinehurst. Kara is a co-planner for the CLE Committee of the NC Bar Elder Law & Special Needs Section where she oversaw planning for this event as well as another CLE event.… Read More


Kara Gansmann Published in Business North Carolina Magazine

Piggy Bank on Books

“How Seniors Can Afford Long Term Care Without Spending Their Life Savings,” an article by Kara Gansmann, was published in Business North Carolina Magazine’s 2017 Law Journal. Kara is an elder law attorney based in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP.… Read More


Kara Gansmann Featured in NC E-Bar

Kara Gansmann | Appellate Law Attorney Wilmington

A recent Insights article by Kara Gansmann was featured in the North Carolina Bar Association E-Bar publication. The article, “What To Do With A Paper Savings Bond After Owner Dies,” was initially published in the online edition of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.… Read More


Kara Gansmann to Chair Carousel Center Board

"N-E-W-S" spelled out on blocks

Kara Gansmann, an attorney in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP, has been elected to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Carousel Center, Inc. for 2016-2017. Kara joined the organization’s board of directors in 2014.… Read More


CSH Law Attorneys Participate in 4ALL Statewide Service Day

Jar of pennies with "Community Give Back" Printed on the side

Eight attorneys from Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP (CSH Law) participated in the North Carolina Bar Association’s 9th Annual 4ALL Statewide Service Day on Friday, March 4. The statewide event is sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation and the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA).… Read More