Articles of Incorporation: What Are They?

Articles of Incorporation Outline Your Businesses Operation

If you are considering forming a corporation, or transforming your existing business into a corporation, then you need to become familiar with articles of incorporation.  Sometimes called a certificate of incorporation, this document is a series of articles that spells out all of the key information and details about your business.

While there are some business documents that are optional for your business, articles of incorporation are something that you absolutely must have.  Not only does the stare require this document, but it contains all of the information about how your business will be operating.

What are the Articles of Incorporation?

In order for your business to become a corporation you will need to file the articles of incorporation with the state or governing body where your corporation is being formed.  Once the paperwork is filed, appropriate fees are paid, and the articles of incorporation are accepted, your business will be officially recognized s a corporation.

Each article of incorporation contains specific details about the structure of your corporation, and how your business will be run.  There will be articles listing the name, the purpose for your business, even the length your business will be in operation. 

This is also where you spell out the compensation for shareholders, and information about the board of directors.  The articles of incorporation are basically a laundry list of everything you can foresee affecting your business in the future.

How are Articles of Incorporation Written?

There is no set length required for the articles of incorporation.  These documents can be only several pages for small, simple businesses, up to hundreds of pages in length for larger, more complex businesses.  While there are some basic items that must be included, there is not limit to the number of articles or bylaws that need to be there.  The size is a matter of the complexity of the business, and your attention to the small details of your business.

Regardless of the length, you should have your articles of incorporation drawn up by a business attorney that specializes in forming corporations.  This is a legally binding document, so you need to make sure the information is correct.  An experienced attorney can help you to anticipate the future, and make sure the proper articles are included.

An attorney can also help you with making sure your articles of incorporation are filed properly.  This in itself could save you a great deal of time.  If you were to file your paperwork incorrectly there could be a large time lapse while you try to correct any errors.  Your attorney can help you to avoid those kinds of unnecessary difficulties.

Making Changes

Once the articles of incorporation are filed they become legal documents, and your corporation is then bound by those articles.  If there is ever a reason that those articles need to be changed in the future those changes will have to be voted on and approved by the board of directors.

Having your articles of incorporation properly written is a critical piece for the formation of your corporation.  Because they spell out the details of how your business operates anything that should be there that was left out, or any information that is incorrect can create difficulties in the effective operation of your business in the future.

Take the time to think through as many different details about your business before you start to draft a copy of the articles of incorporation.  Then rely on your attorney to help you supply any missing information, and to put it all together for you.

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