Articles of organization are documents filed with regulatory agencies to form a limited liability company (LLC). Until these documents are on file, the company does not officially exist in the eyes of the government. Many government agencies provide blank forms people can fill out to get a limited liability company established and the paperwork can also be drawn up by an attorney who specializes in partnership law. It is important to make sure that the documents are properly filled out to avoid any problems in the future.
Limited liability companies are often described as hybrids that incorporate elements of partnerships and corporations. There are advantages and disadvantages to organizing a company in this way that should be considered before filing articles of organization. It's also important to weigh the input of all of the partners involved in the company.
Several pieces of information must be included in articles of organization. The name of the company and a physical address are two key pieces of information. The company name cannot be confused with the name of an existing company and it usually cannot include words like “corporation,” “corp,” or “incorporation,” which might mislead people into thinking that the company was organized as a corporation. Usually regulatory agencies provide a list of terms that cannot be used in the name of a limited liability company and such companies may be required to use “LLC” or “limited liability company” in their names.
Another aspect of the articles of organization is a section describing what the company does. The document must also designate a registered agent. This person acts as a legal representative for the company. Registered agents can be served with paperwork related to the company and act as a point of communication for the company. Finally, articles of organization should provide information about the management of the company, if it is known at the time the articles are filed.
Simply registering as an LLC does not authorize a company to do business. In an individual jurisdiction it may be necessary to obtain other authorizations in order to open and run a business, including licenses that allow the company to sell and manufacture products. People who are interested in starting businesses can usually obtain a new business toolkit from a government office that provides information about the steps they need to take in order to legally open and operate a business. Lawyers can also provide assistance with this process.