Can I Change the Name of My LLC Company?

By Michelle Kaminsky, J.D.

Can I Change the Name of My LLC Company?

By Michelle Kaminsky, J.D.

Perhaps a partner has left your LLC, your business has outgrown its original name, or you simply want to make a fresh start. What can you do?

Man gesturing while holding pen to table of office workers

You can change your LLC's name.

First, you should follow your operating agreement's required procedures for reaching major decisions and get approval of the name change from the other owners, called "members" in an LLC. You may or may not be required to hold a formal meeting, but you should still draw up a resolution that approves the name change and keep it with your LLC records.

Now you're ready to change the name of your LLC, which you can do in five easy steps:

Step 1: Check availability of the name.

Before you go proceed with changing your LLC's name, you should first make sure the name is available through an online entity name check. You should also check your own state's name registry database.

You may also want to search for available domain names and, if you will seek trademark protection, check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database as well.

Step 2: Amend your Articles of Organization and operating agreement.

You must follow your state's procedure for changing the name of your LLC, which is handled by the same agency that registered your LLC. This procedure generally entails paying a fee and filing the completed required form, often called "Articles of Amendment," "Certificate of Amendment," or "Certificate of Change," which will amend your Articles of Organization to change your name.

Note that there are different situations for which you may desire a name change, and the process for doing so may vary accordingly. For example, in California, if you want to amend your business name, you would file a Certificate of Amendment with the Secretary of State. If you only need to correct the name because of an error, however, a Certificate of Correction is the appropriate form.

Step 3: Update the records of government agencies.

Once your LLC's name is changed, you must notify all appropriate government agencies, including those that have issued you business licenses, certificates of occupancy, and any other permits.

You must also notify local, state, and federal tax authorities of your new LLC name. Although most LLC name changes won't require a new Employment Identification Number (EIN), you should check with the IRS to make sure.

Step 4: Change name on your business accounts and records.

You must put your new LLC name on your bank accounts, business loan and lease documents, and any other official paperwork on which your former business name appears.

Step 5: Publicize your name change and notify others.

Now it's time to update your marketing materials, including your website, social media accounts, and brochures, as well as invoices, purchase orders, and any other documents with your old name on them.

You should also inform those with whom you do business such as suppliers, vendors, distributors, insurance agents, and landlords, in case you need to update any contracts with your new business name.

What about creating a DBA or FBN?

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 a different trade name for your products or services, you can do this by filing an application for a DBA (doing business as) name, also known as a fictitious business name (FBN), trade name, or assumed name.

Keep in mind that registering a DBA 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.

If you already have a DBA and want to change that, however, the process will be different than changing your LLC name, and you should consult your state law.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.