James R. Doran

Attorney at Law

General Civil Law Practice



“Helping Clients Through Difficult Times and Complicated Circumstances”


Essential Estate Planning – Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Community Property Agreements. Marital Trusts & Family Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements.

Probate Process and the Distribution of Estates.  Small estate transfers without probate, Beneficiary Designations.

Foreclosure Defense for Homeowners – Modify loans to a practical payoff schedule; reduce the principal & interest.  “Save your home.”

Real Estate: Real Estate Transactions, Contracts, Deeds of Trust, Promissory Notes, Easements, Quiet Title, Conservation Easements.

Personal Injury Claims: Auto Accidents, Premises Liability, and Accident Insurance Claims.

Landlord Tenant Relations: Leases, Lease Options, Evictions & Unlawful Detainer and Tenants’ Rights.

Criminal Felony & Misdemeanor Defense: Pre-trial Release, Trials, Deferred Prosecutions, Plea Bargains & Expungement.

Debtor & Creditor Matters: Negotiation of Debts; Collection of Debts & Judgments and related matters.

WSBA #: 15107 – Admitted 1985


James R. Doran

(360) 393-9506
100 East Pine Street –Suite 205

Bellingham, WA 98225 (At the bottom of Cornwall)



(360) 393-9506


Qualifications & Relevant Experience

  • Bellingham 2011 – current.
  • Attorney, Mediator & Collaboration Consultant – current.
  • New Mexico Forest Industry Association – Executive Director 2009 – 2010.
  • Private law practice in Twisp, WA from 1984 to 2007; Law practice in Coeur d’Alene, ID 2007 -2009; Trained in Interest Based Dispute Resolution (IBDR).
  • Independent Contractor as Community Forestry Resources 2004 – 2009.
  • Founder and Executive Director of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition 2001 to 2005; Founder and Coordinator of the Coeur d’Alene Forest Coalition 2006 – 2009; Founder and coordinator of the Payette Forest Coalition 2009.
  • Mayor of the Town of Twisp, Washington from 1996 through 2000.
  • Co-founder and President of the North Central Washington Business Revolving Loan Fund from 1995 through 2000.
  • Board member of the Okanogan County Economic Development Council from 2000 through 2005.
  • Co-founder of the Partnership for a Sustainable Methow – 1998.
  • Initiating co-member of the Methow Basin Watershed Planning Unit – 1998.
  • Project consultant for the Small Diameter Wood Initiative project and Value Added Product Portfolio project – 1998 through 2000.
  • Chairman of the Methow Valley Citizens Council 1996 through 2000 during Early Winters resort controversy and resolution.
  • Initiator, co-founder and fundraiser for the Methow Conservancy – 1997.
  • Superior Court law clerk during the adjudication of water rights to Deadman Creek – 1981 through 1984.
  • Land surveying from 1972 through 1978.


  • Gonzaga University School of Law – Law degree in 1984 – admitted to practice in Washington State 1985
  • Seattle University – Graduate cum laude in Sociology 1980.
  • Twisp High School – graduated in 1971


  • Lifelong resident of Twisp  & re-located to Bellingham, WA in 2011.
  • Raised on a working cattle ranch in Okanogan County, WA.
  • Hobbies: Skiing, fly fishing, camping, horses, writing.
  • Born March 31, 1953.
  • Adept at personal computer technologies.

Areas of Expertise



Areas of Expertise




  • Essential Estate Planning: Simple Wills, Wills with Testamentary Trusts, Revocable Living Trusts, Community Property Agreements, Powers of Attorney, Directive to Physicians, Marital & Family Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Pre-Nuptial Agreements and others
  • Probate Process and the Distribution of Estates: Distribution of Assets and Settlement of Creditor Claims Small estate transfers without probate, Beneficiary Designations.
  • Foreclosure Defense for Homeowners: “Save your home.” Modify the loan and keep the property. “Fight back”: Reduce the principal, lower the interest rate, extend the term and get a practical payoff schedule through the Foreclosure Fairness Act.
  • Real Estate: Real Estate Transactions & Closings, Easements, Deeds of Trust, Promissory Notes, Mortgages, Contracts, Conservation Easements, Adverse Possession & Quiet Title.
  • Personal Injury – Insurance Claims: Auto Accidents, Premises Liability, Personal Injury insurance claims. You are entitled to compensation for injuries, lost wages and expenses.
  • Landlord Tenant Relations: Leases, Lease Options, Evictions, Unlawful Detainer and Tenant’s Rights.
  • Criminal – Felony & Misdemeanor Defense: Pre-trial Release, Criminal Trials, Deferred Prosecutions, Plea Bargains and Expungement of Crimes.
  • Debtor & Creditor Matters: Negotiation of Debts with Credit Card Companies and Others; Stay out of Bankruptcy.

WSBA #: 15107 – Admitted 1985

Criminal Law

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Estate Planning

James R. Doran – Attorney at Law

“Avoid Costly Legal Complications and Prevent Family Acrimony.”

Last Will & Testament directs the transfer of property to heirs named in the Will.  Reciprocal Wills between spouses transfers property to each other with specific bequests to heirs. (Cost $650.)

Wills with a Testamentary Trust included within the Will sets up a Trust for an under-aged or incompetent heir of for special beneficiaries. (Cost $350.)

Community Property Agreement is the essential document needed to prevent the probate of an estate after the death of one spouse.  Spouses agree in writing that all the property is community property and will go to the other spouse upon death without a probate.  Specific property exceptions can be made. (Cost $350.)

Revocable Living Trust are used instead of a Will to transfer property without a probate and without public access to personal estate matters.  Useful if property is owned in two or more states.  Avoids probate upon the death of the original Trustors.  Property must be transferred into the Trust. (Cost $1,500, plus cost of deed and other transfers.)

Marital Trusts Used for “blended families” (his kids, her kids and your kids) by  irrevocable trusts to make sure that the right people inherit after one spouse dies.

Family Trusts for larger estates to avoid inheritance tax consequences.

Special Needs Trusts Used for individuals with “special needs” to provide for their needs but designed to not interfere with any public benefits that they may already receive, short-term or for life.

“Plan Your Affairs So That What You Want to Happen

to Your Property Actually Happens.”

General Durable Power of Attorney gives another person the power to act on behalf of the principal in all matters.  This power can be conferred immediately or only upon the incapacity of the principal.  All powers of attorney end at the death of the principal. (Cost $350.)

Limited Power of Attorney grants power to another for specific acts, such as to buy or sell a particular property.  (Cost $350.)

Medical Power of Attorney grants the power to make medical decisions to another person; usually done in concert with a Directive to Physicians.  (Cost $350.)

Directive to Physicians gives certified directions to health care providers to allow a person to die under certain circumstances; sometimes called a “living will”. (Cost: $350.)

Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements:  Pre-marital and post-marital agreements as to the ownership of property acquired before or during the marriage; may alter community property rights. (Cost $750.)

“Control Your Personal Destiny.”

Estate Administration:

Probate of Estates is the legal process used to transfer real property from the name of the deceases into the name of an heir.  Creditors of the estate are also forever barred.  A Personal Representative as named in the Will or by intestate rights is empowered by the Court to dispose of the estate.  (Cost: Estimate of $5,000 depending upon the complexity of the estate.)

Small Estate – Affidavit of Inheritance: A simple mechanism used by survivors to transfer small estates containing personal property, bank accounts or investments not over $100,000 value.  Cannot be used to transfer real property.  Cost estimate of $500 depending on complexity of the estate plus transfer fees.)

Beneficiary Designations with bank accounts, stock investments, insurance benefits, etc. can be transferred inexpensively out side of the estate by this “forgotten tool”.

“Get It Done and Stop Worrying About It — If Not Now, When?”


Consultations for Estate Planning:  Advice and document execution at our offices or at your place of residence.  Notary services provided.  Multiple document discount available.


Program on Estate Planning:  An on site program presentation and conversation on the essential points of estate planning.”


100 East Pine Street – Suite 205

Bellingham, WA 98225

(At the Bottom of Cornwall)


Tel. (360) 393-9506





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Read the Article:


 Article for Southside Magazine June 2015

“Take Care of Great Issues While They Are Still Small”

Foreclosure Defense

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