While there is no legal requirement to hire or consult with an attorney prior to setting up an LLC, it may provide you with peace of mind knowing that you’re saving time, and, more importantly, in the inopportune chance your company is ever sued, that your assets are better protected.
Most states allow you to set up an LLC by registering the business entity with the Secretary of State and the IRS. By hiring an attorney to assist you with this process, you can avoid making mistakes while preparing or filing the required documents. Additionally, an attorney can draft other important documents for you, such as:
- An operating agreement for your LLC which lays out how the company will operate and what the member and manager rights and responsibilities will be;
- Articles of organization that list who the registered agent is, who will be responsible for managing the company, and the date the LLC was formed.
You can also have an attorney perform important duties and tasks for you that are required to keep your LLC in good standing (which it must be kept in order to continue do business) including:
- acting as your LLC’s registered agent. Most states require an LLC to maintain a registered agent by law. Registered agents are persons who receive legal documents, tax forms, and service of process for the LLC. If an attorney acts as your LLC’s registered agent, it allows you to move locations or rely on a post office box for the rest of your business correspondence without having to worry about missing important documents;
- helping you ensure that the correct documents and filing fees are registered with the proper people;
- checking to make sure no one else is using the LLC name you want;
- registering the LLC name for you (assuming it’s available).
Some law firms offer online services for flat rates that help you form your company. Others may charge a small fee for business law consulting services to ensure that you are on the right path.
If your LLC is comprised of one person performing rather straightforward, low risk services or products, it’s possible that you could complete much of the process of setting up the LLC on your own. Even after you’ve successfully formed the company, there are additional requirements in order keep your business in good standing and able to continue to do business. A lawyer can help explain these requirements to you.
Additionally, if you are worried about the ability for someone to come after your assets due to the nature of the business you run, e.g., someone slips and falls at the AirBnB you run, you should strongly consider speaking with an asset protection attorney at some stage during the process of setting up your LLC.
If you’ve already set up your LLC, even you’ve been in business for over 15 years, it’s never a bad idea to speak with an experienced asset protection attorney to discuss if your current business structure is still working for you.