So you’ve weighed the pros and cons of incorporation, and you’ve decided to take the next step and form your small business as a limited liability company (LLC). As you move down your LLC to-do list for business owners, you see: “File your LLC’s Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State’s office in your state.”
Wait, what are articles of organization? And how are they important to your business? Here’s a quick background and a few tips on writing and filing your LLC’s articles of organization.
The articles of organization act as the structural and legal backbone of your new LLC. The articles establish certain basic information about the new business, like your company name, and describe your LLC’s fundamental identifying and operating characteristics.
Once filed, the articles of organization will legally establish your LLC as a registered business entity within the state.
Once your business is registered as an LLC, you can accomplish other important steps for your business like getting an employer identification number (EIN), opening bank accounts, and obtaining business licenses.
Unlike the LLC operating agreement (which is helpful, but not required in most states) articles of organization are essential for your business to be recognized by your state government.
While state requirements for business formation may vary, most states will require that your articles of organization include the following information:
- Business name and address of the LLC (principal place of business);
- The LLC’s business purpose (usually stated in broad language to avoid limiting any future business prospects);
- The name and address of your LLC’s registered agent (person who is authorized to physically accept delivery of certain legal documents on behalf of your LLC, such as service of process); and
- The name(s) of the manager(s) and members of the LLC.
Most states require articles of organization to identify the LLC’s organizers who are responsible for the incorporation process and signing the articles before filing them with the state. If your business is online, don’t worry – you can use a P.O. Box for the business address.
Once you’ve filed your articles of organization and paid the filing fee, your local Secretary of State’s office will issue a certificate of organization.
Articulating the Articles
Not all articles of organization need to be complex documents. FindLaw even provides state-specific articles of organization forms to help you get started! That said, some aspects of the articles or other business formation issues may require legal advice.
Before filing your articles of incorporation, you may want to consult with an experienced small business attorney in your area.
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