You can create an LLC by filing the required documents -- called the articles of organization or certificate of formation -- with the state. The information contained in the document includes your LLC's name. You can change the name of your LLC on record with the state by making another filing as required by state law.
Amended or Restated Name
The state agency that oversees the creation of an LLC sets the guidelines and rules for changing an LLC's name. For example, in California and Nevada, the secretary of state receives the original LLC filing and adds the information from the filing into its database of records. In order to change the LLC's name, or any other information in the original filing, a Certificate of Amendment must be filed in the form prescribed by the secretary of state. A filing fee must be paid when submitting the amendment.
Sometimes a name correction rather than a name change is necessary. This is most likely to occur when you retain the services of a private company to handle the original filing for you, and there is a miscommunication regarding the name's spelling or simply a typographical error. You may not become aware of the mistake until a copy of the filed document is returned to you by the state. Just like an amended filing, in order to correct the LLC's name, another filing must be made as required by the state, usually done on a form called a Certificate of Correction.
Other Documents and Record Changes
Whenever you change the legal name of your LLC by amendment of the original filing, you must also change the LLC's legal name on other documents and records. For example, if your LLC has a written operating agreement, it should be revised to indicate the name change. All government records for your LLC, in addition to the records of the state agency overseeing your LLC, must be changed. These generally include such records as business licenses, certificates of occupancy and tax filings.
Fictitious Business Name
Filing an amendment to change your LLC's name is only necessary if you want to change the LLC's legal name. If your primary reason for wanting a new name is to use it as a trade name for your product or services, you can do this by filing an application for a fictitious business name. LLCs have the same right as other individuals and business entities to conduct business under a fictitious business name, commonly referred to as a DBA -- an acronym for "doing business as" -- by paying the required filing fee. This may be an easier and less expensive approach rather than changing the LLC's legal name, as it does not require changing any other records in the LLC's legal name.