After settling on a name, you must prepare and file "articles of organization" with your state's LLC filing office. While most states use the term "articles of organization" to refer to the basic document required to create an LLC, some states call it a "certificate of formation" or "certificate of organization." To learn about the specific requirements of forming an LLC in your state, choose your state from the list below:
Another important component when you are determining how to form an LLC is the creation of an LLC operating agreement. While operating agreements are not required under state law when forming an LLC and do not have to be filed with the state, they are very important documents to create because they help you and any other members of the LLC organize your business, plan for the future, and put all pertinent facts in writing.
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Minimal Compliance Requirements LLCs are subject to limited state mandated annual filing requirements and ongoing formalities. While corporations are typically required to have at least an annual meeting of directors and shareholders (and initial meeting of the same), adopt bylaws, and keep minutes of all meetings and all formal corporate resolutions, an LLC is not required to do any of those things (see the explanation of an operating agreement, above). The LLC members may have whatever meetings they wish and may document any such things as they wish, however they are not required to do so.
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An attorney is typically not required when starting a business. A business filing service such as Swyft Filings can help you streamline the formation process, and save you a great deal of time, effort, and money. However, if you are unsure of which business structure may be right for you, or you have questions regarding specific tax or organizational issues, it may be advisable to speak with an attorney or accountant before starting a new business.
Your name must be unique, and not deceptively similar, to any other trademarked name or business. It is also required that your name not be used to intentionally misrepresent the products or services you offer. For LLCs, nearly all states will also require you to add a signifier of your limited liability status, such as "LLC" or "L.L.C." to the end of your company's name. You may be able to operate under a name other than your formal LLC name by applying for and using a dba.
For over 40 years Nolo has been publishing affordable, plain English books, forms and software on a wide range of legal and business issues, including estate planning, small business, personal finance, housing, divorce and intellectual property. Everything we publish is regularly revised and improved by our staff of lawyer-editors, to make sure that it's the best it can be. We pay close attention to changes in the law and we'll make sure your online legal documents stay legally up to date.
If the LLC will be Manager governed, an elected set of Managers (who can be people other than Members), will make the business decisions. Under this structure, the business will more closely resemble a traditional corporation, with the Managers acting as directors, and the owners acting as shareholders. If an LLC elects to be governed by Managers, this decision must be stated in the Articles of Organization.
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Decide if your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. A "member" of an LLC is either an owner of or investor in that LLC. A member-managed LLC affords each member equal rights in deciding how the business will be run. A manager-managed LLC is where the members elect several from their number to be responsible for the company's business affairs.