What Are Articles of Organization?
If you’re looking to form a limited liability company (LLC), you’ll need to draft and file documents known as the articles of organization. Though in some states they’re known by different names ― such as a certificate of organization, or a certificate of formation ― in general the articles of organization are pretty similar in all 50 states.
So what exactly are the articles of organization? What type of information do they include? How do you go about drafting and filing them? In this article, we’ll answer these questions to the best of our ability, and we hope that by the time you’re done reading, you’ll feel prepared to create your LLC’s articles of organization.
What Are Articles of Organization?
The articles of organization are the forms that are filed with your state of formation to formally create your LLC. The most important aspect of the articles of organization is the description of how your business will be identified, how to contact your LLC, and how the company plans to operate.
While some states vary this formula just a bit, the articles of organization typically include the following information:
- The legal name of your LLC, which must not match any existing business in your state
- Your LLC’s physical address
- The name and location of your registered agent
- Name(s) of your LLC’s owner/member(s)
- Name of your LLC organizer
- Name of your LLC manager (if applicable)
We often hear entrepreneurs ask about the LLC organizer and manager positions, so let’s quickly break down what these terms refer to. An LLC organizer is the individual or business entity that actually files the articles of organization with your state. The LLC organizer is often a member/owner of the business, but this position is also commonly filled by a business lawyer, or an online LLC formation service provider.
As for the LLC manager, some LLCs choose to be member-managed, and some choose to be manager-managed. If you elect to be member-managed, your member/owners will take care of the day-to-day managerial duties of the business. However, if you want someone outside of your ownership group to manage your company, you can elect to be manager-managed.
How Are the Articles of Organization Prepared?
In many states, you can find articles of organization templates on the Secretary of State’s website. With these guides, it’s relatively easy to draft your articles of organization yourself, although depending on your state, it can be a bit of a time-consuming process, and it’s obviously very important to make sure you get all the information in your articles correctly. In other states, you may have to create your articles of organization yourself from scratch, which can be a bit more of a hassle.
If you would rather get some assistance with the preparation and filing of the articles of organization instead of completing them yourself, you have a couple different options. It’s quite common for entrepreneurs to hire a business lawyer to draft and file their formation papers, and it certainly does provide some valuable peace of mind to know that each step was completed correctly.
Another option is to enlist the assistance of a reputable online LLC formation service. There are quite a few companies that provide this service, and all you need to do with most of them is give them some basic information about your business. Lots of entrepreneurs like to take this route because it provides you with a professionally formed LLC at a much lower price point than an attorney would charge. If you’re interested in this option, here are a few of our favorite service providers:
- IncFile – $49: IncFile is always a top option for LLC formations. Their low price point is paired with a full year of registered agent service, and their customer feedback is fantastic, with a high volume of reviews and very high average rating scores.
- Northwest Registered Agent – $79: Northwest also includes a year of registered agent with any LLC formation, and they have an advantage here because they locally scan every document they receive as your registered agent (most competitors only scan official government docs). They also provide next-level one-on-one customer support that makes them a highly appealing option.
- LegalZoom – $149: While LegalZoom can’t compete with the much lower price points offered by IncFile and Northwest, they have unrivaled brand power and loads of experience. They also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and extended customer support availability, and they’re a popular choice for a reason.
How Much Does It Cost to File My Articles of Organization?
Much like each state has its own requirements for the format of the articles of organization, they also each have their own fees associated with filing these forms. There is a significant amount of variance between the filing fees in each state, as in some states this costs $50 or less, but in others it can set you back as much as $500.
If you would like some more in-depth information regarding the associated costs in your state, take a look at our extensive guide to the cost of forming an LLC in all 50 states.
The articles of organization are so important because without them, it’s impossible to form an LLC. No matter which state you’re forming your business in, the successful filing of your articles marks the moment your LLC is officially created with the state government.
While many people do choose to prepare and file their own articles of organization, you certainly don’t need to go it alone. If you’re more comfortable enlisting the assistance of a qualified professional, you can either hire an attorney to form your LLC, or turn to an online LLC formation service.
Regardless of how you decide to draft and file your articles of organization, we wish you the best of luck with your new business!