Lost Corporate Minute Book

A lost corporate minute book can be a great inconvenience for both you and your company, as the corporate minute book is one of the most important business documents you have. Its purpose is to contain all of a business’s important documents, such as the certificate of corporations, along with records of all important actions the business undertook, such as issuing shares and making major business deals. Thus the loss of such a document can be a major blow to your corporate records, and all possible precautions should be made to keep it safe.

Importance of the Corporate Minute Book

The corporate minute book may prove itself to be highly valuable for a number of situations, such as:

  • Audits. Because your corporate minute book will most likely be the most complete corporate record you have, should an audit occur, its contents will probably be desired for viewing, and while you cannot be fined for poor corporate records, poor records could lead to fines for other reasons, such as if it appears you are hiding data concerning your business.
  • Borrowing money. Banks may require the corporate records contained in your audit book before agreeing to lend you money. If these records are poorly kept or unavailable, you may have to pay a higher interest rate or be denied a loan altogether.
  • Attracting investors. Many investors may want to view your corporate records before they buy into your company. If you cannot provide this, they may be less willing to invest.

Affidavit for a Lost Corporate Minute Book

If you should be so unfortunate as to misplace your corporate minute book and not have a backup in either physical or digital form, the first thing you should do is create an affidavit of the lost corporate document. This will legally verify both the loss of the document and the legitimacy of the replacement document for it.

An affidavit of the lost corporate document should be created and signed as soon as possible, so that the replacement document–in this case, a minute book–can be put into effect as quickly as possible. The affidavit is also useful as a record of how a lost document was replaced. This can protect you and your company legally, giving you a written record to refer to should the new document be questioned.

Reassembling a Lost Corporate Minute Book

If you have no replacement on hand for a lost corporate minute book, the best course of action is to work with your lawyer to create a new corporate minute book that will reflect as accurately as possible the contents of the old one. To do this, the following steps should be taken:

  • Locate any documents relevant to the minute book that were not kept in the minute book. These might include share certificates, forms, shareholder agreements and others agreements, and declarations. The bank or law firm your company works with may have some of these on file. Your accountant may also have financial statements that could provide valuable insight into issued share capital and any paid dividends. 
  • Order copies of any minute book documents that can also be found in government registries. Such documents may include articles of incorporation, declarations, notices, forms, and articles of amendment.
  • Once you have gathered all the documents you can, you should then analyze them and draft pertinent declarations and resolutions that will reflect this process within the new minute book. A new set of bylaws and share certificates may also be required.

If your lost minute book represented many years of records or many changes in directors, shareholders, or other business issues, reassembling it will be a much bigger challenge than for one with a shorter history or less content, but the general process will remain the same.

However, in some cases, no matter how much effort is made, it will simply be impossible to locate all the necessary documents or assemble the data necessary to recreate a passable reproduction of the lost minute book. Should this occur, the passage of so-called “whitewash resolutions” may be needed to fill in the gaps. These resolutions are based on what documents remain and any information provided by shareholders and directors to ratify and acknowledge all past decisions and transactions. Declarations of missing share certificates and the drafting of a new director, shareholder, and transfer and securities ledgers may also be necessary.

Once all this is done, the entirety of it may be inserted into a new corporate minute book. A copy of this new book should then be placed in a law office for safe-keeping.

If you need help due to a lost corporate minute book, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.