Do I need a lawyer to incorporate?
We are in the early development stage still for our mobile app. I've hired a lawyer to draw up contracts, mainly for taxes purposes, but I'm wondering now if this is something I could do myself OR if I can revisit hiring a lawyer when we are progressing at a faster rate. Any advice?
Best of luck with your venture. And definitely check out Andrew Jaffe's guide.
If you really know what you are doing, sites like Legal Zoom may be okay. But really, listen to Walter Wise and JUST DON'T DO IT! I am an independent paralegal. I form business entities for individuals when the circumstances permit (their CPA or attorney has advised on choice of entity since I cannot provide direct legal advice) and for attorneys across the country. I often clean up the mess that results from those sites after folks do consult an attorney. You get the minimum required to legally incorporate. You do not get a set of documents specifically crafted to your individual situation, and a relationship with a professional who can calendar future due dates for you and be a resource as your business grows.
Attorneys make great partners, particularly at the early stages to give you a heads up of what to be aware of as you grow, and will already have the background knowledge to jump in when things are progressing faster. Many also provide flexible fee arrangements that take your level of need and growth stage into account. And many have great relationships and can introduce you to key partners.
Hold off on expenses of incorporating, lawyers, accountants, any unnecessary expense until you have a monetized business. When there is designs, product & revenue to protect then consider those entities. You can incorporate online for about 100$ through various sites.legalzoom, bizfilings, mycorporation, etc...
Without knowing where you are I would say definitely not. In most states incorporating is quite easy. Go to your state government website and you will be able to download forms and instructions and then it is as easy as filling out any form, just totally simple and logical. I have done it several times and there is nothing to it.
I have written a legal guide concerning the steps you need to take when creating a new App. Here is the link: www dot avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/legal-steps-to-opening-a-new-e-commerce-website-app-or-blog
You can probably do the filing paperwork with your state and local (if required) government yourself.
However, you need to talk to your attorney and your accountant to make sure you pick the correct organization for your business, LLC, C-Corp, Sub Chapter S, etc. There are both legal and tax implications that you need to consider.
Do not rely on friends or even such websites a Legal Zoom. They will typically charge you several hundred dollars and screw it all up so you have to get an attorney to recover. You should ALWAYS seek professional advice for these types of questions.
Make sure you get it right the first time.
By the way, I am NOT an attorney, but I work with start ups and small businesses across the US. Nothing beats professional advice as it can save you money and headaches down the road.
No one ever has to hire a lawyer to draft a contract or incorporate. The problem is that usually an individual will make a great many mistakes and using a form filling operation like a legal zoom is likewise a mistake.
Apart using contacts for tax purposes, you need to make sure the contracts protect your development of the app so the people doing work for you acknowledge it is work for hire and the technology belongs to you.
Most attorneys will work with start-ups so they can keep operating and at the same time protect them provided they know they will get paid eventually
Good Luck, but do not be foolish and try to be your own attorney on important matters. .
Hey Bryan, I know starting a business can be a very harrowing experience if you've never done anything remotely close to it. Walter gave you some very good advice and Andrew provided you with the tools to get started. I 'am not a lawyer but like Walter I've opened up businesses all over the southeast and each time before consulting with a client, I always wanted to know where they were in the process (funding). LLC's and C-corps are great for start-up, from a tax stand point; you can claim your loses personally on a schedule C and they offer the same legal veil as the C corp. If you have business partners, then general or limited partnership is the way to go. All the formations have their Pros and Cons. Funding will decide if your ready and what steps to take. Just do your home work, and good luck; we are here if you need us.
I think Mr. Zucker's advice is great. The mechanics of incorporating is not difficult and there are many nonlawyer services that can help you with that. But a lawyer would be useful to advise you on many decisions you may have about what type of corporation to set up, where and various other legal issues that could confront your business, especially if you are offering equity shares in the business or more than just you is owning property that will belong to the business.
My suggestion is to hire a lawyer for incorporation. You will have to pay fees, but as far as I'm concerned, it will give you peace of mind.
The short answer: no.
For a simple LLC or corporation wher eit's just you trying to get a business going, then if the state doesn't offer a boilerplate (most do), LegalZoom will do.
But ...if your company is going to have multiple investors or multiple employees in the middle distance - within 2 years - then yes. Yes to getting some advice in the first place, yes to getting the corporation set up just the way it needs to be, and yes to getting the bylaws and other critical documents set up properly.
No, but if you plan to raise capital, or go public, later, I would advise you to hire an attorney that knows both corporate layouts and securities. I design these for attorneys and I can attest to the massive amount of money you will save down the road by paying a little extra upfront and having this done right! Believe me, it's much more complex than filling out an incorporation template and paying the state fees.
Technically incorporation is very simple, I've registered several corporations using legalzoom and it was as simple as it can be. The decision to hire a lawyer depends on the complexity of your situation. The biggest drivers of complexity for me were ownership structure and what happens when things go south, it may be different for you.
IMO, you always need to consult a lawyer when making big life decisions unless you know the law through and through. Lawyers do not seem necessary as long as all goes according to the plan. The Lawyer's job is to prevent any troubles or if that can be avoided to minimize the costs or protect you as much as possible. I say, it's a must. I am a law graduate and in my personal and business decisions I always consult and pay for advice. This has saved me many troubles and tons of money!
According to CAMA ( Law regulating companies Affairs in Nigeria), only Lawyers, Chartered Accountants and Chartered Secretaries and Administrators can incorporate companies. IT depends on the companies law in your country. For Tax matters, Chartered Accountants who knows more about the figures in the Accounts of businesses are best suited to prepare tax computations. Could you require more explanations, kindly drop mail to call +234 8037783908
No you do not need an attorney,
I have completed this for myself and for others,
To place this in perspective average with attorney the cost is around 1k
To perform this same function yourself approximately 45.00 depending on which state you are incorporating in.
You will need a clear mission statement outlining the purpose for which you have entered business and the goal of that purpose. ie. . By providing available for retail resale a new and enhanced air filtration system,, We intend to improve the general and overall health of individuals in personal residences everywhere. We will facilitate the manufacture and production from our facility at _____
You will also need to create your articles of organization, this outlines the major roles as well as who controls the business. If you are in a partnership then you need to detail who the managing member is.
Also outline who is your agent for service.(single owner this will probably be you) Basically who and what address receives any legal documents for the business.
As that address is publicly listed if possible use an address besides your personal residence.
Sounds complicated but its actually very simple.
Fill in the blanks and sign on the dotted line.
Make sure you have your EIN from IRS.gov if you think it will be a while yet before you are ready to complete that step then i recommend registering your name with the secretary of state at whopping cost of a whole ten dollars and is easily completed online or in person.
If you decide to handle this yourself and run into any question feel free to contact me and I will guide you through your next steps. NO CHARGE LOL
Yes, you need a lawyer or really take a look at "Legal Zoom." We used them many years ago. Simple. Smart. Business strategy.
All the best.
It depends on how you want to incorporate. I have done numerous startups and prefer an LLC structure which is much more complicated than an inc structure. Let me know if you need help. If you decide to do an inc you can do it your self but I would recommend an LLC.
In most states, "NO", you don't need a lawyer. If your state has a state website, probably all you need to do is go to the Secretary of State portal on the site, lookup corporations, and there you should find the information you need to setup your own corporation.
Things to consider:
The type of corporation you need, ie. "S" Corp; "C" Corp; LLC; PA; Not-for-Profit, etc.
State of incorporation: Usually the state you do business in.
Stockholders/Members; Who are the owners going to be?
If you'd like more information, feel free to call me at 252-649-2300 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope this helps.
Taxes can be very complex, if good money is at stake, it will pay to have a GREAT lawyer. If you just want to incorporate, that's no big deal and can do it yourself.