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Do I Need a Lawyer to Form an LLC in California?

The answer is, "no". You can form your own limited liability company in California by filing articles of organization (Form LLC-1) with the Secretary of State. The LLC-1 form is a simple document which contains merely basic information - the (proposed) name of the LLC, the purpose (which is set forth for you), the name of the initial agent for service of process, and management structure (one manager, more than one manager or all LLC members).

Nevertheless, an experienced business attorney will help you decide whether the LLC is the right structure for your business in the first place. In addition, while California does not require you to file a written operating agreement, having one prepared is absolutely necessary. Without an operating agreement,

  • The court(s) may not respect your personal liability protection;
  • There are no written rules as to how profits and losses will be allocated;
  • There are no written rules for management or governance;
  • There are no reliable procedures for handling the departure, termination or addition of members;
  • There are no readily-available owner (voter) deadlock procedures;
  • You run the risk of having misunderstandings with your co-owners; and
  • Your LLC will be governed by state statutes governing LLCs, rather than your own set of rules.

Therefore, even though you can file an LLC on your own, organizing and operating an LLC on your own is not recommended. The Lowenthal Law Office in Davis, California offers complimentary initial consultations for business owners and entrepreneurs to discuss taxation, organization and operations. Contact us today at (530) 231-4949 to schedule an appointment.

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