Can We Have a Corporate Incorporator?
Most of us think about an individual being the party that forms a corporation. As an alternative, this post discusses the corporate incorporator, i.e., a corporation that forms another corporation. (For information about incorporators generally, please see What Does an Incorporator Do? )
To start, I wondered whether various states’ statutes permit a corporate incorporator. (more…)
How Delaware Became the Incorporation Capital
This post explains how Delaware became the incorporation capital of the U.S. It is based on a Quora question that I answered recently. Please see How did Delaware acquire its status as a corporate haven?
There are a number of law review articles about the history of Delaware corporate law and how Delaware became the home to so many U.S. corporations.
In my opinion, one of the most informative articles is Arsht, “A History of Delaware Corporation Law”, Delaware Journal of Corporate Law (1976). (more…)
What Does an Incorporator Do?
This post discusses the role of the incorporator when a corporation is formed. I decided to write this after answering a Quora question. Please see When a third party files Articles of Incorporation as the incorporator for a company, what are the necessary steps to ensure that the company is legally released to the directors?
The incorporator signs the corporation’s Articles or Certificate of Incorporation. When I form a corporation for a client, the client typically takes that role.
Harvard Business Services Joins Hall of Shame
Harvard Business Services, Inc. has joined this blog’s Hall of Shame.
Prior to retaining me, one of my international clients used Harvard Business Services to form a Delaware corporation. During that process, HBS made two significant mistakes that I had to fix.
Can I Form a Corporation with a Future Filing Date?
This post expands upon an Avvo answer that I provided. Q. Can I form a corporation with a future filing date?
A. Yes. The answer will vary slightly depending on the state of incorporation.
Future Filing Date in Delaware
If you want a future filing date in Delaware, Section 103(c)(4) of the General Corporation Law says, in relevant part:
When Is It OK to Incorporate Online?
Many entrepreneurs need to control expenses – including legal fees. One way to do that is to incorporate online rather than work with a lawyer. Occasionally I am asked, “When is it OK to incorporate online?”
My greatest concern when entrepreneurs incorporate online is that they have no way to know whether the process has been completed properly. This is particularly true with respect to issuing shares – a critical task.
In answering this question, I look for activities that increase the likelihood of a dispute or a lawsuit. I ask:
California Secretary of State Reduces Turnaround Times!
California Secretary of State turnaround times for corporate and LLC formation – which stretched to their longest ever early this year – now have been reduced significantly.
The reason: In April, the state Legislature passed a bill authorizing $1.6 million for overtime and temporary personnel to resolve a backlog of 122,000 business filings! (more…)
Incorporation is for Corporations, not for LLCs
This post about incorporation discusses legal terminology. I have adapted it from a Quora answer that I wrote almost two years ago. Q. Why do you “incorporate” corporations but “form” LLCs? Why the differing terminology?
A. Corporations have existed for much longer than LLCs. “Incorporation” is the single word that denotes “forming a corporation”. The obvious tie between the words “corporation” and “incorporation” is why the latter applies only to corporations. (more…)
IncNow Joins Hall of Shame
Almost two years ago, I wrote about how Delaware corporations with no-par-value stock can find themselves obligated to pay extraordinarily high franchise taxes (In Delaware, No-Par-Value Can Cost a Bundle). Yesterday, a reader of this blog pointed out that IncNow, an online incorporation service, virtually lures naive customers into this tax trap.
Here is what the reader reported to me:
- IncNow’s default assumption is that no-par stock will be issued.
- IncNow does not invite the user to specify a par value (in contrast to LegalZoom, for example, which does).
- IncNow’s representative said that the reader “could assign a par value to shares, under special requests at the bottom of the checkout form” [emphasis added].
May a Minor Form a Corporation?
This post asking may a minor form a corporation is based on my answer to a Quora question. Please see Can a little kid register a company in United States?
Answer: States differ as to whether they let a minor form a corporation (i.e., whether a minor can act as an incorporator).
For example, Michigan, according to a 1981 Attorney General opinion, does not let a minor form a corporation. A footnote in that opinion lists 31 other jurisdictions whose incorporation statutes (as of that time) variously require that incorporators either be at least 18 years old or have the capacity to contract. As of the date of that opinion, those jurisdiction were:
Holland in the Valley: Incorporation for International Companies
Several weeks ago, the Netherlands Consulate’s Holland in the Valley staff interviewed me about incorporation for international companies.? Excerpts from our conversation recently were posted at the Holland in the Valley website.
Among the topics we discussed were:
In which State should My Startup Incorporate?
This post about the state in which a startup should incorporate brings together points I have made in earlier posts (please see below) and is based on a comment I made on another Quora participant’s answer.
I admit to having a point of view that differs from that of many other lawyers. However, as explained toward the end of this post, my point of view results directly from the types of clients that I serve.
Post-formation Issues for Foreign Companies Coming to the U.S.
Forming a corporation for a foreign client is a lot like forming a corporation for a domestic client. (See Foreign Companies: Form a Corporation when You Come to the U.S.) Having gone through the process dozens of times, however, I realize that there are three important post-formation issues that foreign clients often need help addressing: (more…)
What’s in a Name? A Lot, if You’re a Corporation
In Act II, Scene II of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet wishes that she and Romeo could simply set aside their warring families, famously asking, “What’s in a name?” I thought about this question recently as I was helping a foreign client set up a corporation here in the U.S.
The foreign client is based in the U.K. It wanted to form a U.S. subsidiary with a similar name for brand-identification purposes. To avoid revealing the identity of the client, I will refer to it as “Amalgamated Widget Solutions, Ltd.” and the desired name of its U.S. subsidiary as “Amalgamated Widget Solutions, Inc.”
Which is the Easiest, Cheapest and Best Way to Incorporate?
The following is an almost-verbatim copy (emphasis added) of a Quora question posted today and my answer. Q. Which is the easiest, cheapest and best way to incorporate a California C corporation, preferably online?
A. Cheapest: Use the appropriate nolo.com book.
Best and easiest: Use a qualified lawyer.
Preferably online: None of your three criteria will be satisfied. If you are interested in the basis for this opinion, please go to my blog’s Hall of Shame. (more…)
Online Incorporation: It’s Time to Call Out Inadequate Providers
I have not been a big fan of online incorporation and LLC formation services. (See, e.g., Forming an LLC Online: You Get What You Pay For.) However, the way a client recently was treated by one of these services – The Company Corporation – convinces me that it is time to expose their shortcomings and add them to the Hall of Shame page.
The client used The Company Corporation to incorporate in September 2006. Two months later, the client retained me to provide a variety of services. (more…)
Why are So Many Corporations Formed in Delaware?
I recently answered the question “Is it best to form an LLC in Delaware?” on Quora. In response to a user comment, I opined on why so many corporations are formed in Delaware. My opinion, slightly edited, is reproduced below.
First, I’ll point out that I have what may be a minority opinion, so others may well disagree. (more…)
Do VCs care where my company is incorporated?
Several weeks ago, a first-time entrepreneur called. He had read that venture capitalists prefer investing in Delaware corporations, and he sought my input on the subject.
I replied that, in my experience, incorporation either here in California or in Delaware is fine. Then I started wondering why what the entrepreneur read differed from what I had experienced.
I did some research and conducted an informal survey of a few VCs. Here are my tentative conclusions:
- California-based VCs are comfortable investing in corporations that are formed in either CA or DE (thus my experience, because the vast majority of the VCs whom I know are here in the Bay Area).
- VCs outside California have a preference for investing in Delaware-based corporations, though that preference can be weak or strong, depending on the VC. Even with a strong preference, however, a Delaware-preferring VC will invest in a corporation in another state if it is the right deal
- Why (not) Incorporate in Delaware?
- Why are So Many Corporations Formed in Delaware?
- In which State should My Startup Incorporate?
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.
Forming a Corporation in California? Get Ready to Wait
July 2013 update: California Secretary of State Reduces Turnaround Times!
* * *
California’s budget crisis is affecting how quickly entrepreneurs can form their business entities: Standard turnaround time for hand-delivered Articles of Incorporation now is close to four weeks. (The situation for limited liability companies [LLCs] is better at two weeks, though still much longer than it was just half a year ago – see LLC Formation in Record Time.)
Update as of February 6, 2013: LLC filing time now is approximately six weeks, and corporation filing time is more than seven weeks!
Why (not) Incorporate Online?
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.)
Why (not) Incorporate in Delaware?
Let’s assume that you are starting a new business in the San Francisco Bay Area (where I live and work). And let’s assume, further, that you have decided to form a corporation to establish limited personal liability and to provide an easy way to accept investment capital, if and when appropriate. Should you incorporate in Delaware or in California?
Registered Agents Say Incorporate in Delaware
Registered agents cite a variety of reasons to incorporate in Delaware. Those reasons tend to fall into two categories: (more…)