There are countless online services – including LegalZoom, MyCorporation and The Company Corporation – that will help you form a corporation. The benefits are clear: A minimal investment of time and money.
But, based on the experiences of some of my clients before I began representing them, those benefits may come at a cost: Corporate documents that do not properly meet the entrepreneur’s needs, plus a lack of information about legal requirements to maintain the corporation on an ongoing basis. (Please see this blog’s Hall of Shame page.)
For example, one client received (without knowing the problems until I pointed them out) bylaws that did not specify the intended number of directors and did not acknowledge that board meetings may be held by conference telephone – seemingly minor issues, but ones that could lead a naive entrepreneur astray in governing the corporation. And if you need a shareholder or buy-sell agreement among multiple founders, forget about online services – they are not equipped to help you.
So what should a cash-strapped entrepreneur do?
Disclaimer: The following is not recommended because it is the right way to do things – it just is less risky that using an online service.
Buy the appropriate book from nolo.com, study it, use their forms, and file the required documents yourself. You will need to invest some time, and you may not do everything perfectly, but you will be educated and will gain some insights as to whether and when a lawyer should help move your company forward.
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.