Steve Grabenstein is the President of the Van Winkle Law Firm where he focuses his practice on will contests, business disputes, trust and estate disputes, wrongful death and personal injury claims and fiduciary related claims.  As a talented litigator, Steve has handled numerous will caveat proceedings, complex commercial actions, wrongful death and personal injury suits, suits involving trusts and trustees, and fiduciary litigation.  Grabenstein is also a certified mediator and in that role and as a member of arbitration panels has helped hundreds of individuals negotiate and settle a wide variety of cases.  Grabenstein has also been trained in the collaborative law approach to resolving disputes outside of court.

Practice Areas

Awards & Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America® 2020, Asheville Area – Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Trusts and Estates, Trusts and Estates
  • Lawyer of the Year, Asheville Area – The Best Lawyers in America® 2020 – Litigation – Trusts and Estates – 2 years
  • Super Lawyers in Trust and Estate Litigation since 2012
  • Best Lawyers in Trust and Estate Litigation since 2011

Practice Highlights

  • Led The Van Winkle Law Firm’s successful efforts in regaining control of more than $10 million in assets for an elderly client.
  • Obtained significant settlements in wrongful death claims for accidents in and outside of North Carolina.
  • Preserved an inheritance for three daughters who were told their father had no assets when he died. Following review of banking and financial records, Steve successfully negotiated an $800,000 settlement for the daughters.
  • Handled a wide range of business, LLC and corporate disputes including derivative actions.
  • Recovered $350,000 for the beneficiaries of a trust in a case where he alleged the Trustee had made inappropriate distributions from the Trust.
  • Led efforts to resolve the distribution of an estate worth more than $2.5 million where there was considerable confusion and uncertainty regarding the provisions of a will and trust.


  • University of Tennessee, Juris Doctor, 1982
  • University of Tennessee, Bachelor’s Degree, 1979

Professional Affiliations

  • Buncombe County Bar
  • Harry C. Martin American Inns of Court
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • North Carolina State Bar
  • Tennessee State Bar

Community Involvement

  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Former Board Member
  • Evergreen Community Charter School, Former Board Member
  • Haw Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Former Board Member
  • Literary Council, Former Board Member
  • Pisgah Legal Services, Former Board Member
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church, Former Vestry Member

When not in the office, Steve enjoys hiking, traveling, gardening and playing drums with area musicians.

  • Favorite Places to Travel: Anywhere with good hiking and/or snorkeling