What States Require Articles of Organization for an LLC?

By William Pirraglia

All states that permit LLCs require articles of organization for registration. Some states have alternate names for the articles. For example, a few call them certificates of organization. However, all states require similar documents to be filed in order to create an LLC. Many states, via the secretary of state's office, offer downloadable articles of organization forms, usually in PDF format.

Articles of Organization Necessity

There is a simple, straightforward reason that all jurisdictions require articles of organization. This document contains all the basic information necessary to identify the organization. Whether your state has an online "fill-in-the-blanks" form or asks you to create the information yourself, it is never too complicated. You should be able to complete this requirement in a matter of minutes, not hours.

Articles of Organization Contents.

Your articles of organization will contain the proposed LLC's name and address. Most states require a physical (brick and mortar) address, not a post office box. You'll list your registered agent's name and address. Registered agents are typically lawyers, but need not be. However, this entity is the official address to receive legal mail, including official lawsuit information and legal service (notification) of actions relating to the LLC. You will state your LLC's "purpose." You can usually state "any legal purpose" as your response. Finally, you'll state the manager's and members' (owners') names. Some states ask if the manager is -- or will be -- a member or an employee.

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Articles Needed for LLC to Exist

Like articles of incorporation when registering a new corporation, articles of organization documents or forms are needed for LLCs to be legally recognized by states. Since all LLCs are "creatures of the state," not the federal government, each state can require the information they want and in the form they desire to register a company. Knowing the LLC's name, registered agent, purpose and organizers (members) is an obvious necessity, regardless of the name of the form or document given by any state. Since all states now permit LLCs to exist, a simple online or telephone contact with your secretary of state's office will give you the information you need to register.

Details of Organization Found in Operating Agreement

Filing the articles of organization and paying the registration fee should result in your LLC being created in your state. Often, nothing else is required for registration. However, the articles of organization are brief documents. Therefore, you'll also want to author an LLC operating agreement for your company. Your operating agreement will contain all the details of your organization, management structure, boards and committees, member meetings and operational policies. States do not typically require you to file your operating agreement for registration purposes. But, you need it for operating efficiency and reinforcing your members' limited liability protection, as it shows you have properly organized your LLC.

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