Steps to Starting an LLC

By Maggie Lourdes

A limited liability company (LLC) is a business that is owned and usually operated by its members. An LLC shields its members from personal liability. This means company debts do not generally put the members' personal wealth at risk. An LLC may own, buy or sell assets, enter contracts, file and defend lawsuits, hire employees and file tax returns. Limited liability companies are subject to the individual laws for the states in which they do business.

Names and States

Individuals forming a limited liability company (LLC) begin by choosing a state in which to create the company. The LLC may not use the same name as another registered business in the state. A name availability search may be conducted by phone, in person or online through the state office that governs business entity formations. Many states designate the secretary of state's office to handle name checks and LLC formations. However, your state may appoint a different business division to handle these tasks.

Articles of Organization

Articles of organization must be filed in the appropriate state office to form a valid LLC. Blank articles-of-incorporation forms are available at official state websites or in person at the appropriate state offices. Information such as the company name, address, business purpose and members' names must be included in the articles. An online legal service can help ensure articles are correctly completed and filed.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now

Resident Agents

A resident agent must also be identified. This is a person or corporation appointed to accept process service for the LLC if it is sued. The resident agent generally must have an address within the state in which the LLC is registered. Once a resident agent is chosen, the completed articles with the state filing fee can be submitted for registration.

Operating Agreements

Operating agreements may be required for a valid LLC. Even if an operating agreement is not legally required it is wise to consider having one. Operating agreements lay out the terms for business operations between members. They address issues such as profit splits, capital contributions, voting rights and dissolution. A comprehensive operating agreement can avoid disputes between members and save unnecessary costs and legal fees.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now
How to Use an LLC for Vehicle Ownership


Related articles

What Is an LLC License?

A limited liability company is a type of business structure that shields the owners of the company from personal liability for the financial dealings of the operation. An LLC does not pay federal taxes since the profits are only reported on the owner's tax return as personal income. The creation of an LLC is governed by state law and members must file certain documents with the appropriate state department to gain approval to operate as an LLC.

How to Set Up an LLC to Buy an Apartment to Rent out

A limited liability company, or LLC, is one type of business structure available to your rental business. Although you can own rental property without such a business structure, an LLC offers liability protection so that you can keep your personal and business assets separated. To form an LLC, you must file certain paperwork with your state.

How to Add DBA to an LLC

When registering a limited liability company, or LLC, with a state business registration entity, an individual must provide a legal name for the LLC. In addition to a legal name, an LLC may also have a fictitious business name. A fictitious business name, also referred to as a “trade name,” “DBA name” or assumed name, allows an LLC to use a name other than its legal name. By using fictitious business names, one LLC can be used to operate multiple businesses. While the method of registering a fictitious business name varies by state, it generally involves filing a fictitious business name registration with either a state or county agency.

LLCs, Corporations, Patents, Attorney Help

Related articles

How to Locate Members of an LLC

An LLC, or limited liability company, may operate under any name allowed or authorized by the state in which it is ...

Maryland's LLC Dissolution Law

By properly dissolving your limited liability company, you can ensure that creditors and state agencies are notified ...

Can an LLC Elect a Non-Member as a Treasurer?

A limited liability company, or LLC, has some characteristics of a partnership and a corporation. Like a corporation, ...

Can Forming an LLC Protect Your Personal Property?

The limited liability company is one of several types of legal entities that people often use to protect their personal ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED