Contrary to what some might believe, a legal dispute isn’t the only situation in which a business lawyer can be valuable. In fact, a lawyer’s expertise and guidance can be helpful in multiple stages of an LLC’s life.
What about during the formation process? Entrepreneurs often wonder whether hiring an attorney to form your LLC is absolutely necessary.
However, the answer is considerably more complex than a simple yes or no, so we decided to dig a bit deeper and provide you with all the knowledge you’ll need to make a well-informed decision.
We’ll outline every route to forming your LLC, including scenarios when hiring a lawyer could benefit your business. But we’ll also explain when you might want to go with the DIY method instead. Read on, intrepid entrepreneur, and you’ll be thoroughly ready to take on your new business endeavor.
If you need help starting an LLC or just want to make sure it’s done correctly, hire an online LLC service like ZenBusiness ($39) or LegalZoom ($99). They take care of all the legal paperwork so you can focus on what you do best.
Tip: ZenBusiness is the best deal and scored higher than any other LLC service.
When Is It Advisable to Hire an Attorney to Form an LLC?
We’re going to contradict ourselves for a second, but bear with us. Even though we just said there isn’t a simple yes or no answer to the question, we should note that legally speaking, you do not need a lawyer to form an LLC.
But beyond the fact that lawyers are not required by the state or federal governments, the answer gets more complex. There are actually several circumstances where hiring an attorney to form your LLC is preferable to going it alone.
The best reason to hire a lawyer to help you form a new business is if you’re not entirely certain whether an LLC is the right structure for you. After all, there are several different entity types available ― sole proprietorships, partnerships, C corporations, S corporations, and more ― so it’s important to make sure you form the one that best fits your business purpose and goals. A good business attorney can explain the differences and help you choose the right fit for you.
The LLC is an incredibly flexible structure, so when you form one, you’ll have some decisions to make. For example, you’ll need to decide whether you want your LLC members/owners to manage the company, or if you’d rather bring in outside managers. A lawyer can outline the pros and cons of each option, helping you decide on your optimal management structure.
Or, maybe you’re not confident filing your requisite documents correctly. Your LLC will require a few important documents, all of which are necessary for your company’s compliant formation and continuous operation. A business lawyer can file your Articles of Organization, which officially forms your business with the state, and create your operating agreement, which defines your business structure, conduct, procedures, financial processes, etc.
Not to mention that your company might need other documents like a banking resolution, meeting minutes, and more. Prepare any of these incorrectly and your LLC could suffer. A lawyer can give you the reassurance that every document is compliant and professionally-prepared.
Some people prefer to have an attorney form their business simply because they provide peace of mind that the startup process is handled correctly. Especially compared to the DIY route, sometimes it’s worth the money to make sure your business is formed by a true expert.
Even an experienced online formation service doesn’t have quite the same level of expertise that a business lawyer does, so many entrepreneurs feel more confident in the LLC formation service they receive from an attorney. If your formation documents are filed incorrectly, they will be rejected and you won’t be able to start doing business, so it can be worth it to make sure they’re submitted right the first time!
And let’s be honest, as an entrepreneur, you simply might not have the time to form an LLC yourself. You no doubt have a lot on your plate, and it can save you a bunch of time to outsource your formation process to an attorney. If you already have a business lawyer helping you with other services – like trademarks, copyrights, lease agreements, etc. – it can be easy to roll formation duties in too.
This way, you’ll have more time to focus on preparing finances, making deals, growing your business, or anything else.
Why Is It Unnecessary to Hire a Lawyer to Form Your LLC?
You can’t deny the fact that hiring an attorney provides some attractive benefits. But once again, it’s not legally required, and there are plenty of situations where it’s entirely unnecessary.
First off, lawyers are expensive, so it’s probably not the best idea to hire one if you’re operating on a limited budget. The formation benefits you’ll receive simply aren’t worth putting your budding business in a precarious financial situation.
Especially in the startup phase, most businesses simply don’t have the spare cash lying around to pay for a lawyer’s LLC formation fees, which can cost thousands of dollars. After all, you can form an LLC on your own for just the cost of the state fee, which ranges from under $50 to a few hundred. Or, if you want help from a professional but don’t have the money for an attorney, you can hire an online LLC formation service for a fraction of the cost.
They say the best way to learn something is to jump in and do it. If you have the time to prepare and file the formation documents yourself, it can be beneficial to you as a businessperson, as you’ll learn a lot about the process.
This knowledge could come in handy down the line, especially if you decide to form another LLC or expand your current business into another state. And you don’t have to do it alone either. You can usually find helpful how-to guides online through your state’s business website, or even from online LLC formation service websites.
In many cases, an online LLC formation service provider will bundle in additional features with your formation package, which can make a good bargain even better. For example, many of these companies will include a year’s worth of registered agent service to receive and forward your important government documents. Since every LLC needs to designate a registered agent anyway, these LLC service providers can eliminate multiple items from your to-do list in one fell swoop.
All told, the LLC formation process is simple compared to most other business types, and we have complete confidence that you can tackle it yourself. The process varies by state, but in many cases, all you need to do is supply basic information about your company, like the name and street address, along with the contact information for your registered agent.
But if you decide to go with an LLC formation service, we recommend either IncFile or ZenBusiness. They’re both experienced, reputable companies with exceptional customer reviews, and they will handle your formation efficiently and professionally.
Before you go out and hire one, remember that no one really needs an attorney to start an LLC. If you have the time to do the research and make sure your documents are completed correctly, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to form your own LLC. Or, if you want to find some middle ground between hiring a lawyer and tackling the DIY option, you can always use an incorporation service like IncFile or ZenBusiness.
With a reputable LLC service provider, you can avoid the hassles of registering your own business, while also saving quite a bit of money compared to hiring a lawyer. If you would like to know more about your options in this area, we have plenty of resources on this site to help you decide which company’s services would best suit your needs.
No matter which route you take, forming an LLC is an exciting first step on your long and successful business journey, one that will set you up for many years to come!