More often than not your local state government can provide you with the forms you need to follow to file your free articles of incorporation. There will be a wide variance from one state to the next and what information each state will require for your articles of incorporation but most states will require at least a few of these basic categories.
Two things I want you to keep in mind: one, I’m not an attorney so I can’t give you legal advice. Make sure you contact a local attorney to help you out if you need it. And, two, you can incorporate in a state other than the one in which you live. In many cases there are good reasons for doing so such as more privacy and tax reduction issues. Talk to your lawyer first.
Here are the steps you will generally need to take to fill out your incorporation papers:
1. Figure out what state you want to incorporate in and visit the website for that state. Usually you will go to the secretary of state for that particular state to find the needed forms. There will usually be a FAQ or ‘frequently asked questions’ section that can answer most questions that you are likely to have.
2. Find and download the appropriate form from the website. There are several forms of corporations and business entities you can form. Make sure you know which type you want to form before you head online. Each type of corporation (LLC, corporation, C-Corp, etc) will have it’s own unique requirements and forms so you have to know which form to download first. Also keep in mind that not all forms will be called the same thing. For example, if you’re forming a limited liability company, LLC, the forms will be called something like ‘articles of organization’ rather than articles of incorporation.
3. Pick out the name you want for your new corporate entity. Make sure the name you choose isn’t already taken. Most of the time you can find a database right on the secretary of states website that will list what names are already taken.
4. Fill out the appropriate forms. Usually the information you will need to provide will be things like: the name of the corporation, number of shares you will be issuing, street address of the officers,and name of the registered agent. Again, the exact information needed will vary by state as well as by the exact type of corporation you are setting up.
5. Make sure you have filled the form out completely. Sign and date it and then send it back to the appropriate department.
One of the best things you can do to not only present a professional image but to also protect your personal assets is to form a corporation. There are many places you can turn to to find free articles of incorporation, but the best place to start is right in your own back yard, check out the secretary of state website for the state you live in.