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In order to register a limited liability company (LLC), most states require that articles of organization be filed. The LLC articles of organization are similar to articles of corporation that are required during the incorporation process. A lawyer or business services company can assist in writing LLC articles of organization, though many new business owners choose to generate their own documents. Many states provide forms that the registrant needs to fill out, and do not require unique documents be drafted for each LLC. In some states, these documents are referred to as a certificate organization, and others require that a different process be followed.
Limited liability companies are a type of business organization that can be formed in the United States. Each individual state has its own statutes to authorize and govern these businesses, so the process of starting an LLC can differ between jurisdictions. The requirement of LLC articles of organization is consistent across many states, though the required information and format of the documents often differs.
Most states provide forms that can be filled out to serve the purpose of LLC articles of organization. These may be available in hard copies or through the Internet. The website of the attorney general for the state in question will often offer portable document format (PDF) forms that the registrant can simply fill out. In other cases it is possible to draft new articles from scratch or use documents that were prepared by a third party. If third party documents are used, the registrant will typically need to verify that all of the requisite information has been included.
The actual information contained within LLC articles of organization can vary between jurisdictions, though it typically contains some of the same basic data. Articles of organization usually begin with the proposed name for the new business along with both physical and mailing addresses. The names of the principals and their addresses are typically listed as well. Other information may include a statement of purpose, which can define or limit the scope of the business that the LLC will engage in.
Articles of organization typically also have some form of statement of liability. One of the advantages of an LLC is the reduced burden of liability held by the principals when compared to sole proprietorships or partnerships. This reduction in liability typically severs the principals' personal finances from those of the business, which can offer protection from lawsuits. Regardless of the contents of the LLC articles of organization, the reduction of liability typically does not extend to matters of fraud.
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