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What are Articles of Incorporation?

Juris Design Featured Article

What follows is an example of the type of article Juris Design can provide for use on your website.

Whether you are a small business owner or heading a corporate start-up, there are several important steps required to formally register your business with the state and government agencies. One of the first steps in establishing your business is to complete and file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State.

Articles of Incorporation are a written, legal document to establish the business under state law. This is the first and usually most important document prepared when establishing a business. Depending upon the complexity of the business and persons involved, the document may be relatively simple or very intricate. Contributing factors will include items such as business partners (Incorporators), a parent company or foreign investor.

The Articles of Incorporation document will typically specify the following:

  • Name of the state where the corporation will be registered
  • Name of the corporation
  • Type of business, i.e. retail, food service, attorney, etc
  • Total number of [authorized] shares to be issued by the corporation
  • Physical address / location of the corporation
  • Name and address of Registered Agent (in most cases, usually the business owner)
  • Names and addresses of any Board of Directors
  • Names and addresses of any Incorporators (usually all business partners involved in the corporation)

In most states, the Secretary of State requires a minimum declaration of the corporation name, physical address / location and the Registered Agent when completing and filing Articles of Incorporation.

Many small business owners choose to incorporate for the sole purpose of separating their personal assets from corporate assets. Since the business owner, or likely to be the Registered Agent in this situation, will be typically held financially responsible to creditors, being incorporated may limit the ability of a creditor to seize the personal assets of the business owner. Additionally, greater tax deductions may be available to an incorporated business.

 

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