Do I Need a Lawyer to Set up an LLC?
Forming a limited liability company (LLC) is the process of taking your freelancing or small business idea and turning it into a legal business entity. Your LLC will give you tax benefits and protect your personal assets if anything happens to your company. It costs between $50-$500 on average to register your business.
You do not need an attorney to form an LLC. Most states allow LLC formation by registering the business entity on your secretary of state's website and with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Once you register, you can buy or rent a building and have company bank accounts. Unfortunately, your company can also be sued.
When to Use an Attorney for an LLC
A business attorney can save time and money when business owners create a new business. For around $200 to $5000, they can handle the items you may not have time to consider, such as:
- Creating an LLC operating agreement that explains the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your company (this is required in some states)
- Creating articles of organization that list the registered agent, LLC management, and the date of formation
- Keeping detailed records in case of lawsuits or audits
- Filing fees and registering with the correct people
- Registering your business name and checking that the LLC name is available
- Completing and filing all legal documents
Some attorneys also offer online services or set fees for helping you form your company. Others may ask a small fee for consulting services to make sure you are on the right track.
If your LLC is just a few people or there are relatively simple assets, then you will likely be able to do much of the process on your own. If your LLC involves multiple people or partners, bank financing, complex assets, or other concerns, then you can prevent many issues by consulting with an attorney first.
Bringing an Attorney in After Forming Your LLC
If you do not need LLC formation services, but need help with your new business, you may want to consider:
- Employment law attorneys to create employment contracts and HR policies
- Intellectual property lawyers to review your products or services to make sure they are protected
- Tax lawyers to review your income tax and tax returns to ensure you are not leaving money on the table
- Business lawyers if you need to change your business structure to a single-member LLC, S corporation, or another type of business, or need help with another business-related legal matter
- General counsel to review compliance with state laws, state agencies, state fees, or annual fees
- Real estate attorneys to register your business offices or production space
Choosing a DIY approach to many of these services will save you money upfront. However, finding out you made a mistake, could have saved money, or could have been better protected in the long run is a concern for new business owners.
Decide what you need and can afford. Consider having an attorney look things over when the business is making a profit if you cannot afford it right away.
Making the Call on Attorney Assistance for Your Own LLC
However, by law, you do not need an attorney to register your own business. Other documents and legal services can be handled with a DIY approach or trusted to an attorney to save you time and prevent mistakes along the way.