Kara Gansmann is an elder law and estate planning attorney in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP (CSH Law).  Kara is dedicated to solving legal problems for seniors and the elderly in Southeastern North Carolina.  As an advisor, she counsels individuals and families with estate planning recommendations and asset-protection tactics.  In this role, she strategizes with clients to preserve property for long-term care planning and to leave legacy gifts to family members.  Kara drafts wills, powers of attorney, and trusts, including pet trusts, special needs trusts, living trusts, and asset-protection trusts.  Kara also works with elderly clients in need of crisis planning for Medicaid, Special Assistance, and Veterans’ Benefits and connects clients with regional agencies equipped to fit these needs.

In the courtroom, Kara represents clients in the administration of estates, guardianship/incompetency proceedings, and administrative hearings for public benefits.  Kara also litigates estate and trust matters, including will caveats, the modification or termination of trusts, and litigation arising from estate documents or fiduciary roles.  Kara and her team of experienced problem solvers also represent clients in trust administration, estate and probate administration, and in applying for Medicaid benefits.

Kara brings significant experience as an appellate practitioner to CSH Law.  Prior to joining the firm, 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 efficiently evaluates her clients’ appellate matters and effectively advises on trial strategies to preserve issues for appeal.

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 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.
  • Obtained guardianship on behalf of out-of-state client to protect family member with advanced dementia.
  • 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

  • Drafted 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.
  • 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)
  • The Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Corporations to Opt Out of Contraceptive Mandate in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014)
  • Government Speech. It’s What’s for Dinner, 82 N.D. L. Rev. 519 (2006)

Most Recent Posts


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