The LLC Articles of Incorporation are a charter by which you can officially start your LLC. To be exact, the proper term for these documents is "Articles of Organization." This establishing document can be filed with the Secretary of State or appropriate state agency.

What Are Articles of Organization?

An LLC, or Limited Liability Corporation, refers to its organizing documents as Articles of Organization rather than Articles of Incorporation because an LLC isn't a corporation. The organizing document of a Limited Liability Corporation has to meet the statutory requirements of the state where it is filed. Across the United States, there is only one document necessary to form an LLC — the Articles of Organization.

There are a few ways to create the articles. You can always draft the articles on your own, completing and submitting a form obtained from the Secretary of State, or you can hire an attorney. The state governing agency to which you submit your filings considers "Articles of Organization" the official name. Depending on the state you're in, you may receive a certificate acknowledging your Articles of Organization. Some states simply return the articles with the addition of a stamp detailing the filing number and date.

What Information Is Needed When Filing Articles of Organization?

There is specific information that must be included in an LLC's Articles of Organization. States provide statutes detailing what an LLC must include. 

The names of members and managers names should be mentioned when the LLC filing is made. The address of your LLC's primary place of business should be provided too. You'll need to provide contact information for the individual who is responsible for receiving specific, physical legal documents. This individual is known as the registered agent. In some states, it is possible for the registered agent of your LLC to be the Secretary of State.

When forming your LLC and filing your Articles of Organization, keep in mind the following requirements:

  • Your registered agent will take responsibility for service of process. This agent needs to make themselves available in an office with a physical address within the state. 
  • If a Limited Liability Corporation is operated daily by a non-member or a member, it must be stated in the articles. 
  • Depending on your state, you may be required to form a statement regarding your company's legitimate purpose for business. 
  • State parameters typically require a business to include "Limited Liability Company" or another abbreviation as well as the legal business name within the articles. 
  • Many states also require the company to have a unique identifying name. 

The signer of the document is typically a member acting as an organizer and a manager. One or more members of the LLC begin the process of organization; the organizer signs and files the Articles of Organization with the appropriate state. In the event that the managers of the LLC are named, it may be necessary for the Articles of Organization to include their signatures.

Before filing your articles, perform a fictitious name search against names already registered with the Secretary of State. It's important to conduct advance research because filing the Articles of Organization can be time-consuming and costly. Having a clear idea in mind of what you want your business to be named before you submit the Articles of Organization can help save you money and time. 

Using a Pre-Made Template

States have basic requirements regarding must be recorded in the articles of the LLC in order to be accepted by the state. There may be templates you can use for your LLC's Articles of Organization that have already been created and are available for you, depending on which state you're in. 

The time it takes to process articles is much shorter with the use of pre-made templates; this is the main reason why states offer these. In the past, LLC articles were extensive documents, but templates have simplified the process.

Filing Fee for Submitting Articles of Organization

In some states you can speed up the process of filing the document online; the fee is typically $100 to $200 in order to submit the document. The filing fee depends upon the state of organization, but all states require a fee to submit your Articles of Organization.

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