WHAT SETS US APART IS EXPERIENCE AND SERVICE. With three offices across North Carolina, our elder law attorneys offer advice on many different aspect of elder law and related issues affecting seniors and their families. Our team is comprised of attorneys devoted entirely to the practice of elder law, experienced paralegals who are well-versed in elder law and probate, and a certified senior advisor, all of whom work with clients for advanced planning for asset protection or crisis planning. We strive to provide informed, relevant legal advice, and services in a compassionate, understanding environment.
Our team proudly provides comprehensive knowledge of the laws affecting older adults and people with special needs. We provide not just legal advice, but also assistance with other issues that impact clients, from overcoming mobility and physical limitations to family conflicts to placement in a long-term care setting. We take a holistic approach to your family’s legal, financial, and personal affairs to best support you and your family’s quality of life.
Estate Planning encompasses a broad range of legal planning issues, such as the use of a will versus a revocable living trust; the use of rights of survivorship; prenuptial property agreements; and the preparation of Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts and Special Needs Trusts. Long-term care planning and asset preservation are often of major concern to our clients.
We intend our estate plans to help our clients retain control of their assets for as long as they are able to do so.
Our clients control their lives, their care, and their assets by creating instructions through their estate planning documents, which allow them to communicate to family members the decisions they intend when they are no longer able to make these decisions themselves.
Family is so important. We love them, we raise them, we watch them raise their own families. There may even come a time when we ultimately have to depend on them for our own well being. When that time comes, we trust they will do right by us, offer the same love and compassion with which we served them.
If that turns out not to be the case. If a loved one has failed in the relationship of caregiving, neglected or abused you in any way. If a caregiver has taken advantage of your vulnerability, mishandled your finances and broken the bonds of trust – you do have recourse.
Elder Law Litigation is on the rise. But little has been publicized about it, and from what we see in probate courts around the country, little is understood.
Generally speaking, these are cases in which the person/persons, whose resources or daily care are the subject of the dispute are alive, but may suffer from cognitive impairment and, as a result, are unable to control their own situations. These are cases that place the ambiguous legal theories of “capacity” and “undue influence” on an even more unfathomable and enigmatic background of personalities and family dynamics.
The Cranfill Sumner LLP knows your rights. We will treat your situation with dignity and compassion. We offer Litigation in the following areas of law: Elder Abuse, Guardianship, Special Education, Will Caveats, Financial Exploitation and Fiduciary Litigation.
In addition to planning for the possibility of long-term illness, we advise clients and their families after such illness occurs. At such times, it is important to plan for present and future care needs as well as for the preservation and distribution of assets. Our professional Geriatric Care Managers work in concert with our Elder Law Attorneys and staff to provide comprehensive guidance and support while our clients and their families make plans to live with changed circumstances and needs.
Your Life Care Plan includes the services of an attorney who is a Board Certified specialist in Elder Law, elder care coordinators, and other members of our staff who work together to coordinate care, maximize the quality of life, and protect family wealth for future generations. Every Life Care Plan is designed to achieve three primary objectives:
- Help you ensure that your loved one gets appropriate care, whether at home or in a residential facility
- Locate public and private sources to help you pay for long-term care while solving the asset protection problem created by the high cost of care
- Give you and your family the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your loved one is safe and getting the right care
A Life Care Plan typically includes the following services:
- Legal services to protect assets, coordinate public and private resources to pay for long-term care and preserve family wealth for future generations
- Advocacy services to help you get the highest quality health care and long-term care for your loved one
- Care coordination services by experts who do whatever is necessary to protect and promote your loved one’s quality of life
Geriatric Care Managers are specialists in the area of geriatrics, whose work includes assessment, care planning, coordination and implementation of services with other appropriate professionals, and the monitoring of care.
Geriatric Care Managers serve as problem-solvers providing personalized service to families, typically when they are dealing with a crisis. They guide families through the process of helping their loved ones safely remain at home or finding a suitable alternative living situation. They are available to their clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week and keep up with the constant changes in the long-term care industry.
As a service to our clients and the community, we provide free referrals to long-term care facilities that offer adult care, assisted living, skilled care, rehabilitation, Alzheimer’s care, dementia care, and independent living for Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, and Pender counties. Each county is separated out for your convenience and a list of terminology is also provided.
We hope this basic information will help when choosing a facility for your loved one. For more detailed information and enhanced assistance, our experienced staff is available to guide you through the sometimes difficult and challenging journey of finding the right placement.
Long Term Care Guide by County:
Veterans’ benefits can help with long-term care either at home or in an assisted living facility.
While most veterans’ benefits and pensions are based on a disability which was incurred during a veteran’s wartime service there is another program available for individuals who are disabled due to the issues of old age, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and other physical disabilities. For those veterans and widows/widowers who are eligible, these benefits can provide relief for a disabled individual who is not yet ready for a nursing home.
Under this program, called pension, a veteran can receive a maximum of $1,944.00 per month in benefits and a widow or widower can receive up to $976.00 as a maximum benefit for A and A for the year 2011. The applicant must be determined to be “permanently and totally disabled.” The applicant does not need to be helpless — only to show that he or she is in need of aid and assistance on a regular basis. Someone who is housebound or in an assisted living facility and over the age of 65 is presumed by the Veterans Administration to be in need of benefits.
Although planning for qualification for such benefits may involve transfers of assets, it should not be done without a thorough understanding of such transfers’ potential effect on future Medicaid eligibility.
Special Needs Planning is a greater necessity today than ever as advances in medical and social treatment for people with developmental disabilities have increased their life expectancy. Greater longevity for the person with special needs creates a greater need for parents or caregivers to do proper planning that incorporates daily routines and needs as well as special needs trusts for future financial needs.
Special Needs Trusts are also used when an elder is disabled and receiving long-term care assistance from the government and a spouse or other family member wishes to provide funds to enhance the elder’s quality of life.
It is our view that long-term care planning and estate planning can work together for the protection of family assets. A legal will can appoint an executor of your estate, arrange charitable bequests, arrange custody of your minor children, and ensure your wishes are respected in distributing your property.
A testamentary trust is created within a will which takes effect after the death of the grantor. The appointed trustee will follow the deceased’s wishes in administering the trust to its beneficiaries. Testamentary trusts are also known as a credit shelter trust, marital deduction trust, or A-B trust.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a written document that designates another person to act on one’s behalf when making legal or financial decisions. By designating someone to act in your behalf, you allow them to sign your name in the event you become unable to handle your own affairs. The Durable Power of Attorney becomes especially important when planning asset transfers and when qualifying for Medicaid. It is also important to discuss whether the authority to be granted under a power of attorney will be immediate or “springing” by future incapacity and the extent of the gifting powers granted by the power of attorney to your attorney-in-fact.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A living will, a form of advance health care directive, is instruction given by individuals specifying what actions should be taken for their health in the event that they are no longer able to make decisions due to illness or incapacity. Another form of advance health care directive, a health care power of attorney appoints a person to make such decisions on their behalf. Our firm generally proposes a combination of both types of advance directives in a single document.
Medicaid regulations are contradictory and complex. While a person with one type of illness may find his or her medical costs paid for by Medicare, a person with another disability may instead be required to rely on Medicaid. With proper planning, the complex federal and state Medicaid regulations can be negotiated in a fashion that preserves assets for the protection of the remaining members of the family. Careful planning also maximizes assets remaining for the community spouse’s benefit.
Probate is generally required of assets that are titled in an individual’s name. An estate that is probated without any type of will or trust is usually distributed via instructions in the law called intestate succession. An estate may also be probated according to instructions contained within a will. A personal representative is appointed to represent the decedent. This person acts on behalf of the estate during a period in which the court administers the estate and ultimately distributes the assets.
Where a person has become incapacitated and has not appointed an agent under Durable Power of Attorney, it may become necessary to arrange for the appointment of a Guardian of their estate (to manage assets) and/or a Guardian of the person (to make decisions for the incapacitated person).
Most Recent Posts
Kara Gansmann hosted the Aug. 15 Cranfill Conversation about Trusts.… Read More
Kara Gansmann has been appointed to serve as the Chair of the Elder & Special Needs Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. The 2023-2024 term began July 1.… Read More
Brandy Cox spoke at the recent “Unprogram” presented by the North Carolina Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). The event was held April 21-23 in Black Mountain, N.C. and attracted attorneys and legal staff from across the state. … Read More
On April 4, Nick Valaoras hosted the “Fundamental Elements of an Estate Plan” Cranfill Conversation. This was a continuation of his previous Cranfill Conversation with a new focus on the importance of Wills.… Read More
Nick Valaoras hosted the March 9 Cranfill Conversation about Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives.… Read More
Twelve Cranfill Sumner LLP attorneys were recognized by Business North Carolina magazine as part of the magazine’s Legal Elite program. … Read More
Kara Gansmann, a Partner at Cranfill Sumner LLP, served as a presenter for the NC ABLE Webinar Series: NC ABLE Accounts vs. Special Needs Trusts on Nov. 9.… Read More
A recent Insights article by Kara Gansmann discusses the importance of reducing or eliminating debt while estate planning and how that can impact a person’s final estate. “Simplifying An Estate by Living & Dying Debt-Free” provides tips for making estate planning easier through the reduction or elimination of debt.… Read More
“Planning for Retirement and Beyond,” an Insightful Discussion by Kara Gansmann, is available from the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. The article… Read More
Kara Gansmann, a Partner in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner LLP (CSH Law), was recognized as a Top Author in the area of Wealth Management by the JD Supra Readers’ Choice Awards.… Read More
Kara Gansmann, a Partner in the Cranfill Sumner Wilmington office, served as a presenter for the “Dementia Conversations Program” on Jan. 27. The webinar, presented by the Alzheimer’s Association®, was held from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.… Read More
Kara Gansmann has been reappointed to serve on the Continuing Legal Education Advisory Committee for the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA). Kara’s term began in July and continues for one year. This is Kara’s second term on the committee.… Read More
As Americans are living longer, more and more seniors are turning to family members for care and support as they… Read More
Amid the chaos of COVID-19, estate planners and elder law attorneys across the country are busy fielding calls and questions… Read More
As the coronavirus has made its way to North Carolina, clients are reaching out to the Elder Law Practice Group… Read More
Many states, including North Carolina, allow people to execute certain legal documents called Powers Attorney. In a Power of Attorney,… Read More
When preparing for the future, seniors and their families can follow this check-list to ensure their needs have been addressed.… Read More
Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner) will host free forums about “Trust, Estate & Long-Term Care Planning.”… Read More
Kara Gansmann, an Elder Law and Estate Planning attorney with Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner), has been named the Chair of the Cranfill Sumner Elder Law and Estate Planning Practice Group.… Read More
One of the most common questions clients ask is whether they need a trust. While they are usually seeking a… Read More
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At Valentine’s Day, we celebrate those we love whether our loved ones are our children or grandchildren, spouses, committed partners,… Read More
Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner) has announced dates for free forums about “Trust, Estate & Long-Term Care Planning” through May 2019. … Read More
Recently a Texas intermediate appellate court affirmed a trial court’s ruling to admit a Will for probate when the decedent… Read More
Kara Gansmann served as co-planner for the 2018 Basics of Elder Law & Special Needs Law CLE seminar sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association. The event was held Oct. 12 at the North Carolina Bar Center in Cary.… Read More
When packing for college, don’t forget the Power of Attorney documents. In her latest Insights article, Kara Gansmann reviews estate… Read More
“Relief Available for Medicare Part B Penalties,” the latest Insights article by Kara Gansmann is available now on the online… Read More
“Top Estate Planning Tips for Loved Ones with Special Needs,” the latest Insights article by Kara Gansmann is available now… Read More
“The Low-Down on the Medicaid Spend-Down,” an Insights article by Kara Gansmann, appears it the latest edition of the online… Read More
The latest Insights article from Kara Gansmann appears in today’s edition of the online Greater Wilmington Business Journal. “What’s the… Read More
How do you account for Bitcoin in estate planning? Kara Gansmann addresses that question in her latest Insights article in… Read More
In recognition of May as National Elder Law Month, Kara Gansmann discusses the importance of Elder Law in her latest… Read More
In her latest Insights article, Kara Gansmann reviews the latest changes to Medicare cards and what senior citizens should be… Read More
“What Can Happen to My Cremated Remains under NC Law?” is the latest Insights article by Kara Gansmann. In the… Read More
“Using a Supplemental Needs Trust for the Benefit of a Disabled Person,” the latest Insights article by Kara Gansmann, was… Read More
Kara Gansmann discusses how pet trusts can protect family pets after an owner passes away in her latest Insights column.… Read More
Kara Gansmann, an Elder Law and Estate Planning attorney with Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner), was recently appointed to the NC Bar Elder Law & Special Needs Law Section Council, as a voting member of the council.… Read More
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 examines the potential impact that the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may have on families considering estate… Read More
In her latest Insights column, Kara Gansmann discusses the impact of the N.C. Power of Attorney Act on estate and… Read More
Kara Gansmann and Vanita Young recently served as volunteers at a walk-in legal clinic held at the Fayetteville Vet Center on July 19, 2017. The event was sponsored by the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center.… Read More
An Insights article by Kara Gansmann was published in the July 5 edition of the online Greater Wilmington Business Journal. … Read More
Kara Gansmann, an Elder Law attorney in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner LLP, has been selected to serve as the Co-Chair of the CLE Committee for the Elder & Special Needs Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.… Read More
Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner) today announced that it has added an Elder Law Practice Group to its list of practice areas. The firm has hired Andrew Olsen to Chair the new practice group.… Read More