How to file articles of incorporation in California

If you're starting a corporation or a limited liability company in California, a key step in the process is filing your articles of incorporation. Your corporation's existence is legally established when you file the articles with the California Secretary of State, which charges a fee for the filing. Currently the fee for a general stock corporation is $100, and the fee for an LLC is $70.

Your articles of incorporation are used to identify your new company by its proposed name and address, and to describe in general terms the purpose of the business. The articles also allow you to identify a legally registered agent who is authorized to receive legal documents on behalf of the LLC or corporation.

For a general stock corporation, you'll have to provide information about stocks, including the number of shares the corporation is allowed to issue. Each incorporator will then have to sign the document.

For an LLC, you'll have to indicate how the company will be managed -- by one manager, multiple managers or by all members of the company. Then each organizer of the company will have to sign the form. 

Unfortunately, many articles of incorporation can't be processed because of omissions, errors and failure to meet the state's naming requirements. To avoid delays and ensure that your business formation complies with all of the legal requirements, it is a good idea to consult with a business law attorney.

The attorneys of Shulman, Hodges & Bastian LLP provide legal guidance in matters of new entity formation.

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