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How to Form an Entity

The Warriors came back to beat the Cavaliers last night in Cleveland to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the NBA finals.  No team has ever come back from this large of a deficit to win the finals so this series is pretty much over at this point.  Yes, I know LeBron brought the Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit last year but this year is different.  The addition of Kevin Durant this past offseason has made the Warriors an unstoppable force and I don’t believe the Cavs have the “horses” to make a comeback this year.  Hopefully they can win a game and at least make the series interesting.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on business entity choice that detailed the differences between the different structures you could choose when starting your business.  For the purposes of this article, let’s assume you have made your choice.  The next step is creating and filing the necessary paperwork to have a separate, legal entity.  So how you go about this process?  Below are the basic steps you should take.  Disclaimer – the below does not represent legal advice.

  • Choose your business’s name. Make sure you confirm that the name you want to use is available in your state.  Most state websites have a corporate name search to look up if the name you want is already in use.
  • Start filing the paperwork. In 99% of the cases, your entity needs a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).  This can be done yourself online at the IRS website.  Once this is obtained, you will need to register your entity with your state.  Each state has a different process and fee structure so you may need to consult your trusted advisor on this.
  • Create your internal formation documents. If you created an LLC you will need an operating agreement between the LLC members and the entity.  If you chose a corporation, you will need to create corporate bylaws.
  • Issue ownership documents. If you are corporation, send stock certificates to the owners.  If you are an LLC, issue membership interest certificates to the members.
  • Other considerations. Make sure you look into obtaining permits to do business in the state and local subdivisions you are registered in.  Also, you may need to hire a registered agent or even publish a “notice of intent” to do business in your state.  Each state is a little different, so, you may need to consult with an advisor on this.

As you can see there is a great deal of work involved with getting your entity started.  The above only scratches the surface. Many more steps may be involved depending on where you are doing business.  I do want to stress that setting up your entity the right way is crucial.  I have seen way too many instances where a prospective client set up the entities themselves and did not do it properly.  Not only did this cause legal issues, it cost them more money to fix versus having a professional guide them in the beginning stages.  At a minimum, make sure you consult your legal team to understand the entire process so you do not miss a step.  It will be well worth it in the end.

As always please feel free to contact me with any questions!

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