Articles and bylaws of partnership are documents that thoroughly outline the regulations, guidelines, and rules of an organization. Bylaws often are filed with articles of incorporation when a business originally is formed. They are normally connected with corporations, but associations, nonprofits, and partnerships can have bylaws as well. This is due to them having subsidies and grants that need to be strictly monitored. Continuous reports need to be made to the stakeholders who have the powers and duties that are set forth in the bylaws.

These bylaws define how a nonprofit should approach governance. There can be other types of organizations that have bylaws as well, such as societies and clubs.

What are the Components of Bylaws?

There are many different components of bylaws. Amending bylaws sets rules on how bylaws are to be amended as well as who can amend them. A board of directors is a ruling body, and the section on this talks about what qualifications are needed for the following:

  • How someone becomes a director.
  • How the board is composed.
  • The process for filling vacancies.
  • Responsibilities and duties of every member.
  • How long the term is.

The bylaws also discuss what the guidelines are for forming and appointing special committees as well as their duties. A provision describing conflict of interest is an essential part of the document and forbids a director from having an unreasonable advantage due to his or her position. Normally, a director who might benefit from an issue would not have a vote on the matter.

Meetings are also discussed in the bylaws, which talk about the schedule of normal and special meetings. Included are such specifics as the place and time, how to notify the board, who the committee members are, who the regular members are, and what the conditions for attendance are. In addition, a quorum is talked about in this section.

The document also covers information on the members, such as the varying types of members, membership removal and acceptance criteria, sanctions, and rights. There are no members in certain organizations, which need to be defined in this section. The role of officers is also discussed, usually board members who have certain roles such as treasurer, vice president, and president. The document states how they are elected or removed, as well as what their duties are, their powers, term lengths, and responsibilities.

What is the Importance of Bylaws?

The bylaws for a company are like a blueprint for how the corporation will be run and managed. They're essential to the business, so they shouldn't be written, filed, and forgotten. The documents define what the members and corporation can or can't do in certain situations. As an example, corporation officers might need to refer to the bylaws to settle disputes over decisions or procedures that could impact the reputation of the corporation or their finances.

This is clear when an argument ends up in litigation and a court decides on a ruling based on what is stated in the corporate bylaws. Since bylaws are a dynamic and crucial part of any organization, they should have accurate and current information. Organizations that form bylaws need to review the document about every five years, or as often as needed.

What is the Difference Between Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws?

If you think of a company as a building, the concrete foundations would be the articles of incorporation. The structure is the bylaws of the contract. Having articles establishes the corporation by having the basic information registered with the state. They define how the company runs and are usually more complex.

What Should an Article of Incorporation Include?

Some states might call the articles a different name, such as a charter. Every state has laws regarding what needs to be covered in corporate articles. The common rules are the following:

  • The name and main address of the company.
  • The purpose of the corporation (doesn't need to be specific).
  • The statement "to engage in any lawful activity."
  • The registered agent's name and address.
  • Information on the stock, such as how many shares, what classes the shares are, and the original share value.
  • The incorporators' names.

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