Seattle attorney Chandra Lewnau's practice areas include estate planning, probate, small business and nonprofit law.
Chandra is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Texas School of Law. Chandra first became interested in estate planning while watching family members struggle to manage the affairs of loved ones with dementia. That interest deepened when she served as a student attorney at UT's Elderlaw Clinic where she helped low income elderly people with their legal needs. After being admitted to the Texas bar in 1999, Chandra worked for a small firm where she gained experience in a wide range of litigation, tax, and transactional areas. The firm was a pioneer in establishing paternal inheritance rights for illegitimate children in Texas and also handled other difficult contested probate cases involving will contests, fiduciary litigation, and other matters. It was this experience that gave Chandra her passion for helping families prepare successful estate plans. "I was tired of seeing so many people destroy their family relationships and spend all their money on attorney's fees, when in most cases a little advance planning could have avoided years of heartache and tens of thousands of dollars in wasted money," Chandra says. Chandra is dedicated to helping you and your family avoid these tragedies by proactively creating a plan that preserves what you care about most—whether that is preserving a legacy for your minor children, protecting your spouse in her golden years, or even providing for the care of your pets.
Chandra's other passion is helping small businesses and nonprofits plan for success. "My Dad owned several small businesses and I know first-hand the struggles small business owners face. Too many feel priced out of the legal services market and don't get the advice they need until it is too late and they are already in trouble." Chandra works with clients to come up with affordable legal plans that get them the legal advice they need when it can do the most good—before there is a problem. Chandra particularly enjoys helping new businesses form and incorporate. "Starting a business is about more than filling out a form with the Secretary of State and never looking back. Many owners think the articles of incorporation are all they need to protect their business, when that is really just the beginning." In her years in Texas, Chandra also worked as de facto in house counsel for Lawyer's Aid Service, Inc. (LAS), a company that has helped Texas lawyers form thousands of entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and professional associations. Chandra represented LAS in a variety of legal and tax matters and litigation. She was the principal author of one of LAS's best-selling products, a Texas limited liability company record book trusted by hundreds of Texas attorneys. She also revised their corporate and nonprofit record books to keep up with ever-changing federal and state laws. Chandra now brings these skills to her small business clients.
Chandra also helps small nonprofits develop corporate governance practices and policies and obtain 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. "The IRS 1023 application can be very daunting. There are so many little details you have to get right. And the IRS is so backed up that an incomplete application can delay you from getting 501(c)(3) approval for months. I can guide your nonprofit through the process to an application that is complete the first time."
Chandra moved to Seattle in 2010 and enjoys the beautiful Pacific Northwest and the break from the Texas heat. A long-time animal shelter volunteer and animal welfare advocate, Chandra can often be found volunteering when she isn't out walking or swimming her own two rescue dogs. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and volunteers at the King County Bar Association's Elderlaw Clinic and Nonprofit Assistance Center Clinic. Chandra serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington Environmental Council. A closet nerd, Chandra also writes legal technology reviews for the TechnoLawyer family of newsletters.
Listen to Chandra Lewnau discuss estate planning tips on KIXI AM 880's Chat with Women. Check our events page for live air dates or listen to the archive at http://chatwithwomen.com/.