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Stephen Lee Carpenter

Probate Attorney at Knoxville, TN

5.0   7 reviews

also known as Stephen L. Carpenter, Steve Carpenter

Free consultation Virtual consultation available
Free consultation Virtual consultation available
  • State Years
    Tennessee - TN 28 years
    Virginia - VA 34 years
  • Licensed for 28 years
    State TN
    Acquired 1996
    Active No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 34 years
    State VA
    Acquired 1989
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Stephen

Learn Stephen’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Probate
    “Probate” is the legal proceeding where a court oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s assets, after the payment of debts. As with any legal proceeding, the Executor or Administrator must comply with many legal duties, such as notifying heirs, paying creditors and filing paperwork with government agencies. Stephen has helped many families navigate the probate process and resolve family conflicts.

    34 years, 450 cases

  2. Estate planning
    “Estate planning” is the process of specifying how you want your assets handled, both during your lifetime and after your death. An estate plan typically results in legal documents (such as Wills, Trusts, and/or Beneficiary Designations). Everyone should take the time for estate planning - not just the wealthy. It is the best way to minimize conflict and uncertainty for your heirs. Stephen helps clients of all ages handle all aspects of estate planning, including advanced types of trusts.

    34 years, 2,200 cases

  3. Business
    “Business Law” describes the transactional legal matters Stephen handles for business owners, such as working with clients in planning and carrying out business transactions, drafting and negotiating agreements, and counseling clients about compliance with laws and regulations. Stephen serves the needs of numerous business enterprises, both large and small.

    34 years, 820 cases

  4. Trusts
    Trusts are extremely useful tools, both during your lifetime and after your death. Stephen can review the many reasons for establishing a trust with you, and can ensure your trust will be legally valid and accomplish your objectives appropriately.

    34 years, 2,050 cases

  5. Wills and living wills
    A written will lets you decide what happens to your money and property after you die, while a "living will" lets you decide whether or not you wish to be placed on a medical life support system if you become disabled or incapacitated. Stephen can help you with these basic documents, as well as Powers of Attorney that are equally important to prepare.

    34 years, 2,000 cases


I help families and businesses protect their assets to pass a legacy to the next generation.

I am active in my church and community and I enjoy snorkeling, hiking, reading and window shopping.

STEPHEN L. CARPENTER is an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee, where his practice is concentrated in the areas of Wills, Trusts, Probate, Tax Law and Small Business transactional matters.  Mr. Carpenter studied Business Management and Accounting at Asbury College (earning the Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts, cum laude) and then continued his studies at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where he earned both the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in Taxation and the Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) degree.  Stephen is licensed to practice law in Virginia and Tennessee – and he is the managing member of the law firm he founded in 1989, now known as Carpenter & Lewis PLLC, which is a very different type of law firm because its attorneys take a more client-oriented approach to practicing law.


Mr. Carpenter is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, Knoxville Bar Association, and the Knoxville Estate Planning Council.  Mr. Carpenter has spoken to groups on several topics in the past, including “Small Business Startup Strategies” and “Tennessee Wills and Trusts.” He has trained other attorneys by presenting continuing education seminars on topics such as “Helping your Client Select the Best Entity Option” and “Considerations in Buying or Selling a Business in Tennessee.”  He serves in his local church and is a member of the Board of Directors of several religious and civic organizations, including Past President of the Fountain City Business and Professional Association, Inc.


Over the years, Stephen has helped thousands of individuals and families by drafting wills and trusts to transfer wealth to the next generation – while effectively minimizing taxes and implementing values-based estate plans.  Stephen is equally adept at assisting families after the death of a loved one, as they walk through the legal process of estate and trust administration.  Stephen also regularly works with small businesses and nonprofit organizations to help those entities with tax compliance and asset protection planning.


Mr. Carpenter has extensive experience and capability in: (a) counseling affluent clients regarding their personal estate and business planning; (b) drafting wills, trust instruments, durable powers of attorney, pre-nuptial agreements and other estate planning documents; (c) pre-and post-death tax planning for individuals, trusts and estates; (d) preparing and filing estate tax returns, gift tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns; (e) representing individual and corporate fiduciaries and (f) litigating disputes in the Probate Division and other equity divisions of the Chancery Court.


Stephen has worked on estates involving assets valued at several million dollars and has successfully handled numerous estate tax, income tax, and business tax matters, will and trust construction cases, will contests, modification of trust agreements and various types of court cases involving estates and trusts.  He enjoys aiding forward-thinking clients by properly structuring their assets to reduce the risk of unnecessary loss due to taxation and litigation.



Silver Client Champion
Distinguished Peer Review Rating

Photos and videos


Carpenter & Lewis PLLC
10413 Kingston Pk Ste 200
Knoxville, TN, 37922


5.0 / 5.0
  7 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
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1 Star
Posted by anonymous | January 13, 2009
Caring estate lawyer
Mr. Carpenter is one of the first attorneys I have met who doesn't make me feel dumb. He is not condescending, but is freindly and caring. He was very knowledgable and helped me decide how to handle some complicated family questions in my will and trust. I have recommended him to friends and feel good about the other people in the firm also. They treated me like family.
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Posted by Jan | February 22, 2015
Would recommend Attorney Stephen Carpenter
I found Attorney Stephen Carpenter by doing a google search. I am from CO and needed an attorney to prepare legal documents for my Mom, who resides in Knoxville. Lorie, the legal assistant, answered the phone when I made the initial call. She was very professional, very kind and took the time to answer all my questions. She was very knowledgeable. I felt very confident about choosing this law office after speaking with Lorie. The day of our appointment, (2/16/15), the weather turned to snow and sleet. The roads were deteriorating quickly. Despite the inclement weather, Lorie and Stephen did not cancel our appointment. My mother and I met with Attorney Stephen Carpenter. He listened intently to our needs, he looked over documents we brought and made recommendations. We felt very comfortable with Stephen, he was very easy to talk with. My Mom is quite elderly and not easy to communicate with, due to hearing deficits. . Stephen spoke directly to her in a manner that she could understand. . We felt very confident with Stephen. I liked that he spoke with confidence when making recommendations or answering our questions. It certainly reinforced to me that we had chosen the correct attorney. After our appointment, Stephen went above and beyond by looking up the deed to my Mom's house in MI. This was something I was going to do, but he took it upon himself to do for us. We were very grateful. I would recommend Stephen Carpenter. We found the fees to be very reasonable.
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Posted by Jim | May 6, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
You CAN NOT Go Wrong With Stephen Carpenter
I needed an estate attorney for my 90+ year old parents to update Wills, prepare a Living Trust, and prepare Powers of Attorney, Healthcare POA's, Living Wills and Deed changes for the Trust. After interviewing 7 Knoxville attorneys/law firms, I settled on Stephen Carpenter at Carpenter & Lewis. He had fixed pricing (very reasonable for an entire Estate Package) and was impressive and personable on the phone. We have now completed the process and we could NOT be happier with the result. My parents were so complimentary of the very process that they were dreading. Stephen is HIGHLY knowledgeable, tax and estate savvy, detail oriented and is so very down to earth, professional and responsive. His documents were amazing and needed very few changes. He is an avid listener and translated our unique needs into legal language so very well. He was great in explaining everything and answered all our questions in terms we could all understand. The process was painless! I did my own estate documents 10 years ago in another state using a large, high powered law firm -- Believe me -- Stephen's process was 10 TIMES better - and a lot less expensive. Stephen knows how to do this and how to guide you through it VERY WELL! Also, Lorie, his assistant, was a joy to work with, so pleasant and service oriented. I do NOT do reviews of things on the web...but, after using Carpenter & Lewis' services, I wanted all of you who are looking to do estate planning to know -- YOU WILL NOT GO WRONG WITH THEM!!!! So, do yourself a favor...if you want a great outcome, if you want super value for your money, if you want to deal with very pleasant, personable and responsive people who are experts and pros at what they do -- use Stephen Carpenter at Carpenter & Lewis. It's not a large law's a small, highly effective, service oriented group. You won't regret it...and perhaps afterwards, you'll also WANT to write a review of them to help others who are trying to decide who to use for some of the most important legal documents in their life.
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Posted by Bob | April 25, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Review for Stephen Lee Carpenter
5-Star rating. As long as I have know Stephen Carpenter and worked with him in a client-attorney relationship, he has consistently been helpful, caring, friendly, sincere, honest, fair and (generous) when it comes to charging for services, thorough in researching issues, and willing to refer out to others in areas where others may have more "niche" experience in dealing in certain legal areas. I would highly recommend his services. — Bob
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Posted by Corrie | April 22, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Pesonal and Attentive Lawyers
We use Carpenter and Lewis for our small business. Over the years our business has grown and changed, Stephen Carpenter has helped us through these changes with sound advice and quick responses. Stephen has experience in the CPA world as well so is able to give a perspective that contributes in many areas of our business. What I like the most is the personal attention and response. There is no red tape or hoops to jump through - it is just straight honest answers.
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Posted by anonymous | April 22, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Set up a trust.
Very professional. Answered all of our questions.
Posted by Thomas | December 18, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Outstanding Estate Planning Attorney
Mr. Carpenter drafted excellent last will and testament, family trust, living will, and power of attorney documents for my wife and me. (I also happen to be an attorney.) Mr. Carpenter was referred to us by our retirement investment planning expert. We are very glad that we engaged Mr. Carpenter to take care of our estate planning needs.
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  • Free Consultation 20 minutes
  • Hourly Rates $ 275-275 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 7.4 (Very Good)

Work Experience

  • Attorney/Founder
  • Carpenter & Lewis PLLC
  • 1989 - Present


  • College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law
  • LL.M - Master of Laws
  • 1990
  • College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1989
  • Asbury College
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1986

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Estate
  • Assets Protected, Family Conflicts Resolved


  • Knoxville Estate Planning Council
  • Member
  • 2007 - Present
  • Knoxville Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2000 - Present
  • Fountain City Business & Professional Association
  • Past President
  • 2000 - Present
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1996 - Present
  • Virginia State Bar
  • Member
  • 1989 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • BV Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2018
  • Client Rating
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2014
  • National Registry of Who's Who
  • Who's Who In American Law
  • 2000


  • self-published
  • IRA Inheritance Trusts: How to protect your heirs FAQ
  • 2009

Speaking Engagements

  • Monthly meeting
  • Wills and Trusts
  • 2007

Attorney endorsements

Received (1)
Given (1)
Endorse Stephen
Estate planning Attorney | Jun 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Stephen Carpenter is a very competent attorney. He has extensive knowledge of the laws relating to estate planning, including Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and taxation. He is also familiar with the laws relating to business transactions. I endorse him without reservation."
Knoxville Probate Lawyer Stephen Lee Carpenter
Stephen Lee Carpenter
Probate Attorney
Knoxville, TN
Licensed for 34 years
Free Consultation
Virtual consultation available