I would recommend speaking with an attorney who advises on business matters and helps with the formation of corporations and limited liability companies. These entities offer a limitation of personal liability if they are set up and operated in a proper fashion. The same type of liability protection is not available to a sole proprietor.
A knowledgeable attorney can learn more about your individual circumstances and concerns and give you specific advice for your situation. Good luck to you and your new business.
The above response is commentary regarding a general legal question. It is not intended to be legal advice specific to the reader's individual situation nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between the author and any reader. You are encouraged to contact a qualified and knowledgeable attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.
I agree with the other attorney, but before you meet with a business attorney, I would recommend that you visit http://www.sos.wa.gov. The Secretary of State has a good website with basic information about the distinctions between various corporate forms. A visit with a corporate business attorney will also cover topics such as insurance that the secretary of state's site does not. You will also want to discuss intellectual property issues, taxes (you can review basic information on that at http://www.dor.wa.gov). Good luck!
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You do not necessarily need an attorney to start your own business, but it would be advisable to do so.
Legal disclaimer: The answer provided: A) is for informational purposes only, B) is not intended to constitute legal advice, C) should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with an attorney, and, D) does not establish an attorney client relationship. The answer may be different if all of the facts were known.
Most business attorneys offer a free consultation and can discuss the various legal issues facing a new enterprise. Would make sense to at least take advantage of that and then make an informed decision on how you want to proceed from there.
Legal disclaimer: I am licensed to practice law in the state of Washington and the answer provided above is for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as specific legal advice. This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney of your choice to fully advise you about your legal rights and obligations.
Speak with a tax/business attorney who is also a CPA and you will be ablento solve multiple issues as to proper entity, tax advantages, succession planning, tax returns and accounting records, payroll taxes, employee benefits and liability distinctions.....all from one source
My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.