How do you define your type of business? At present, you may describe yourself as "unincorporated," simply because you are not incorporated. An incorporated business is one that has applied to become a legal entity within a particular state and is funded by shareholders. (In the beginning, the shareholders may be you and a couple of partners or silent investors, people who invest in your company but do not participate in daily operations.) If you want to become an incorporated business, then there are some legal procedures involved. However, if you do not know what the legal procedures are, a professional corporate attorney, like those at Strauss Troy, does, and will help you in several ways.
Defining a Business as It Becomes Incorporated
If you initiate the incorporation process with your lawyer, your small business will be temporarily referred to as "unincorporated." After the state and federal governments have approved all of your paperwork and legal documentation for incorporated status, you are then labeled and listed legally as "incorporated." (You cannot become an incorporated business if you already claim sole proprietorship, because incorporation requires that your company have shareholders and a handful of paid employees.)
Filing the Incorporation Paperwork
Your "Articles of Incorporation" are professional and legal statements and documents that your corporate lawyer will first meet with you to discuss, then write and file. His or her legal fees and retainer are entirely separate from the fees you need to pay to become incorporated. Most of the federal fees required for your incorporation are the same, no matter what state you live in, but state fees vary. Your lawyer will see to it that all of the paperwork is filed with the corresponding fee amount, and that all the necessary documents are in order prior to filing.
Receiving the Finalization and Acceptance Documents
If you have not already assigned the duties associated with your company's registered agent, now is the time to do so. The registered agent, for most incorporated businesses, is the corporate attorney who will manage any future lawsuits, file and receive documents regarding your company's incorporation, and manage other legal matters for you. Since the registered agent has to receive lawsuit documents, it is just more convenient and less of a legal headache to keep your corporate attorney on long-term. If you choose not to hire and assign the duties of the registered agent to your lawyer, you will still have to have an attorney at the ready to manage these important business and legal affairs.