Carolyn S. Wenzel


p. (615) 742-4589
f. (615) 742-4539
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Carolyn S. Wenzel represents companies and individuals involved in transactions and litigation in the areas of business, tax, trusts and estates. She serves as an advisor and advocate in federal tax planning, strategy and controversy, real estate, probate and trust litigation, creditor’s rights in estate administration, and state administrative and court appeals. Carolyn is a Rule 31 Listed General Civil Mediator by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

In addition to assisting for-profit businesses, Carolyn regularly counsels nonprofit entities and tax-exempt organizations, including public charities, private foundations, trade and professional associations, and religious and educational organizations in the areas of business planning, governance, regulatory compliance, tax exemption qualification, and litigation.

Carolyn’s experience includes helping companies with tax planning and problem solving related to Tennessee state and local taxes, including refund claims, voluntary disclosures, audits, administrative conferences and hearings, and judicial appeals. Her representations include controversy work in state corporate income and franchise tax, sales and use tax, business tax, and local property tax for commercial and industrial property owners. Her experience includes counsel to companies in the transportation, communications and energy industries before state revenue agencies and local tax assessors.

Carolyn also advises families and individuals in business succession, tax and estate planning, estate and trust administration, and fiduciary compliance. She regularly handles conservatorship matters, estate and trust disputes, and probate litigation involving heirs, beneficiaries and fiduciaries.

Education & Bar Admissions


  • Grand Valley State University, M.S. in Taxation, 2002
  • University of Kansas, J.D., M.A., 1993
  • Hollins College, B.A., 1989, cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee, 2002
  • Michigan, 1994
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2013
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 1994
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, 2006
Recognition & Publications


  • Woodward/White: The Best Lawyers In America 2012-Present (Litigation-Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy-Tax; Non-Profit/Charities Law; Trusts and Estates)
  • Woodward/White The Best Lawyers In America Lawyer of the Year 2016, 2019 (Non-Profit/Charities Law); 2022 (Litigation-Trusts and Estates)
  • Attorney for Justice Tennessee Supreme Court Pro Bono Service Award 2014-2016, 2018-2020
  • Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers 2015-Present (Tax)
  • FiftyForward 2015 Harriet Foley Leadership Award
  • Nashville Business Journal Best of the Bar 2014-2015, 2018
  • Finalist – 2013 Women of Influence Awards, Nashville Business Journal
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
Professional & Civic Activities

Professional Activities

  • Member of American, Tennessee, and Nashville Bar Associations
  • Member of the Michigan Bar
  • Institute for Professionals in Taxation

Civic Activities

  • Rotary Club of Nashville Member
  • Nashville Bar Foundation Fellow
  • International Women’s Forum, Tennessee Chapter Member
  • Leadership Nashville Class 2015 – 2016
  • Immunization Action Coalition ( Board (2021-present) (Chair 2021-2022)
  • Electric Power Board (Nashville Electric Service) (2015 – 2021) (Chair 2018 – 2019; 2020 – 2021)
  • Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Board (General Counsel 2020 – 2021)
  • Nashville Symphony Board (2018 – present)
  • Studio Bank Founders’ Advisory Board (2018 – present)
  • Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference Board of Trustees, United Methodist Church (2015 – present)
  • United Methodist Foundation for the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference Board (2012 – present) (Chair 2016 – 2021)
  • Community of St. Mary Board (2014 – present)
  • Mayor’s Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee (2016 – 2017)
  • Nashville Opera Board (2011 – 2017) (President 2015 – 2016)
  • Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville Board (2009 – 2017)
  • Calvary Young Children’s School Board (2014 – 2016) (Chair 2016)
  • FiftyForward Board (2009 – 2015) (Secretary 2012 – 2014)
  • Nashville Aquatic Club Board (2012 – 2013)
  • Breakfast Club of Nashville Board (President, 2013; Vice Chair, 2012; Social Chair, 2009)

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