- January 8, 2022
- Kelvin Birk
A limited liability company (LLC) is one legal structure you can choose when starting a business. There are several other structures, too. The value of an LLC is that it limits your personal liability like a corporation does while at the same time giving you the flexibility and lack of formality available through a sole proprietorship or partnership.
If you’ve chosen to move ahead with an LLC structure, you may be asking yourself, “do you need an attorney to form a Missouri LLC?” The short answer is no. You can form an LLC in Missouri by filing the legal paperwork yourself or by using a professional, online business formation service like LegalZoom. However, the longer answer may be that you want to hire an attorney to help you form your LLC because of all the guidance he can provide and the sink holes he can help you avoid.
To create an LLC in Missouri, here are the initial steps that will get you started:
- Select a name for your business.
- Designate a registered agent.
- Complete a Missouri LLC articles of organization form.
- Craft an operating agreement.
- Contact other state and federal agencies as needed.
The Missouri Secretary of State’s office provides a useful Small Business Start Up Guide that can be helpful in providing answers to some of your initial questions. But this is just the first step. There’s a lot more to do to get your business up and running, and you want to make sure you avoid pitfalls so they don’t come back to haunt you later.
Can I set up an LLC without an attorney?
Here are some questions you should ask yourself at the outset.
Before deciding you set up your LLC by yourself, here are some important questions to consider:
- Do I have the time?
Filing out and filing incorporation paperwork takes time and effort. Is this the best use of your energy? If you are working round the clock to attract new customers, manufacturer your product and secure financing, you may want to hire an attorney to efficiently draft and file your LLC paperwork.
- Is it worth the headache?
Sometimes online, cookie-cutter corporate formation forms don’t consider all the nuances of your business. One size doesn’t fit all when choosing a corporate structure. The last thing you want is to choose one structure now, only to wish later that you’d chosen another corporate structure altogether. Talking to an experienced attorney can alleviate these future headaches.
- Have I explored other corporate structure options?
The Missouri Secretary of State’s office provides a nice primer on the various corporate structures available to someone wanting to start a business. By reviewing these, you can begin to determine if an LLC is the best structure for your goals or if there’s another corporate structure that would suit you better.
- What are the pros and cons of an LLC?
The advantages of an LLC are that it protects your personal assets from lawsuits against your business, it requires less paperwork to establish than does a corporation, there’s significant flexibility in ownership and management, and there are certain tax advantages to an LLC. The disadvantages are that an LLC can cost more to form and maintain than a sole proprietorship and ownership in an LLC can be harder to transfer.
- Would hiring an attorney save money in the long run?If you don’t set up an LLC correctly in the first place and file all the appropriate documentation, you could run into problems involving business litigation later. Sometimes, the decision about whether to hire an attorney or do it yourself comes down to a risk/benefit assessment. If an attorney helps you avoid making mistakes, the cost of hiring one now could be less than the costs you would incur in the future to correct unintended mistakes.
Factors to consider when starting a business
Several factors can come into play when deciding whether to form an LLC or pursue a different corporate structure such as an S Corporation, partnership or non-profit. Be sure to explore the following matters when deciding which structure is right for your new business:
- startup capital
- liability concerns
- allocation and distribution of company income and profits
- delegation of management responsibilities
- succession plan
- contract matters
- limits on transfer of ownership
- customer relations
Can a business attorney help me in other ways?
Do you need an attorney to start an LLC in Missouri?
We’ve established that you don’t need an attorney to fill out and file formation paperwork for your business, but are there other ways a lawyer can be valuable in creating an LLC in Missouri? Because a business attorney is familiar with every aspect of running a company, he can be helpful with many other issues, including exploring ways to reduce your tax liability, drafting contracts that protect and benefit your business, crafting succession plans, and defending you against legal maneuvers by competitors. A business attorney can be your ongoing partner in successfully building a company by handling all legal matters that arise.
Talk to Attorney Kelvin Birk for answers
Starting a business can be one of the most exhilarating experiences in life. It can also be one of the hardest and most time consuming. There are so many obstacles to avoid and so much knowledge and experience that can benefit you. You don’t have to go it alone and figure out everything yourself. Attorney Kelvin Birk is both a CPA and a lawyer, so he has deep legal knowledge as well as a keen financial mind. For this reason, he is an ideal asset for new business owners. He can answer your questions, offer you guidance on formation, and serve as an ongoing legal resource for your future business endeavors. To find out more about how Birk Law Firm can help, call us for a free initial consultation at 573-332-8585. We’re here to help!