Frequently Asked Questions

  • Registered Agent

    • What is a registered agent?

      It is a mandatory “agent” of the corporation or LLC who is officially designated at the time that incorporation or registration documents are filed in accordance with state requirements. A Registered Agent is designated to be responsible for receiving and forwarding lawsuits and other critical legal and tax documents on behalf of the company.

    • Why are P.O. boxes not allowed?

      A Registered Agent is responsible for receiving any legal papers on behalf of the LLC, and often legal documents must be hand delivered to a physical address and accepted by an individual. Therefore, almost all states require that the agent’s address be a street address where the agent is physically located during standard business hours.

    • Can an entity act as its own Registered Agent?

      Most businesses choose an independent third party to serve in this important capacity and with good reason. Business matters frequently take essential personnel out of the office. In the absence of a responsible employee, an organization might be at greater risk for a default judgment for failure to answer a complaint within a court-mandated response period. Additionally, the location of a principal office address may change from time to time. The maintenance of a constant registered office eliminates the costly requirement of changing the registered office location of the company with the state each time it relocates. Also, an independent Registered Agent affords an economical level of privacy to avert the need to deal with private process servers and/or the court appointed law enforcement personnel when served in front of employees and clientele at the office or neighbors at home.

    • What purpose does a Registered Agent serve?

      A Registered Agent will act as the representative for accepting Service of Process served upon the company within the jurisdiction of any state where the company conducts business, and will also forward any other official legal and tax correspondence from the state.

    • What will happen if my company fails to register or designate and maintain a Registered Agent?

      Failing to register and designate a registered agent may foreclose or hinder the company’s ability to legally enter into contracts and gain access to the state courts. Moreover, it may subject the company to monetary, civil, and possibly criminal sanctions. Also, failure to maintain a registered agent may cause your company to fall out of “good standing” within the state. This will subject your license to do business within a state to forfeiture, with monetary penalties assessed to reinstate your company to a “good standing” again.

    • What is the duration of Registered Agent Service?

      It is an annual service, renewing automatically in the month when service was first initiated. Failure to renew Registered Agent Service may result in an Agent Resignation filing and will ultimately effect good standing with the state(s) where registered to do business.

    • What is auto billing?

      For your convenience, Launch by LegalShield will automatically renew your Registered Agent Service annually. Eliminate the worry about remembering to renew your Registered Agent each year. Failure to renew may affect good standing with the state where registered to do business.

  • LLC

    • Who counts as a "member" of an LLC?

      A member of an LLC is listed in the company’s Articles of Organization and/or in an internal Operating Agreement. Members may include individuals, corporations, other LLCs and foreign entities. Most states also permit “single member” LLCs, those having only one owner. A member usually contributes financially or otherwise to the company, has voting rights and shares in the profit of the company.

    • Can we add or remove LLC members later?

      LLC members can be added or removed later by a decision of the current members, usually by vote. This should be outlined in the LLC Operating Agreement (the internal governing document). When the business adds or removes members, the business must reflect this in the information sent to the state. Some people submit these changes in their annual report, but some submit an Article of Amendment to their Articles of Organization to the state. Launch by LegalShield can file Amendments and Annual Reports for your LLC.

    • How many members can an LLC have?

      Most states have no limit on the number of members an LLC can have. Members may include individuals, corporations, other LLCs and foreign entities. Most states also permit “single member” LLCs or those having only one owner.

  • Company Naming

    • What are the state requirements for company names?

      Naming rules for corporations and other business entities are state-dependent. Some words may be prohibited and some words may be required. For General For Profit Corporations, required company indicators generally include Inc., Corp., Incorporated, or variations thereof, as listed in the Designator dropdown menu. For Professional Corporations, different naming rules apply which also vary by state. Launch by LegalShield performs a preliminary name audit to ensure that corporate names meet state requirements.

  • Corporations

    • How many directors should I have?

      Corporations may have multiple directors. However, generally, states require corporations to have at least one director. Launch by LegalShield performs a preliminary order audit to ensure that specific state requirements are met.

    • What is the incorporator?

      The incorporator is the person who signs the company’s Articles of Incorporation and brings the company into existence. For General For Profit Corporations, in most states Launch by LegalShield acts as the incorporator. For Professional Corporations, Launch by LegalShield cannot act as incorporator; therefore, you must provide the incorporator info as requested.

    • Can Launch by LegalShield act as incorporator?

      Launch by LegalShield is able to act as incorporator in most states for General For Profit Corporation filings. However, in a few states − and in all states with regards to Professional Corporations — you must designate an individual to be the incorporator.

    • What is an S-Corp?

      An S-Corp is the same as a C-Corp, except for the way it is taxed. An S-Corp is taxed similar to the way a Corporation is taxed, i.e., income taxes are reported and paid by the owners rather than the company itself. There are pros and cons to the S-Corp tax election, therefore, competent professional tax advice is strongly advised.

    • What is the deadline for selecting S Corporation status?

      To qualify as an S Corporation in the present tax year, a “calendar year” corporation must timely file IRS Form 2553 with the IRS. If a corporation was in existence prior to the present tax year, then this filing must be submitted to the IRS on or before: March 15 of the present tax year. If the corporation is a “New Corporation”, then the S Corporation election may be submitted at any time during its tax year so long as the filing is made no later than 75 days after the corporation has begun any of the following activities (whichever is earliest): conducted business as a corporation, acquired assets or issued stock.

    • What is the difference between an S Corporation and a C Corporation?

      An S Corporation begins its existence the same way that a C Corporation begins its existence, as a general, for-profit corporation upon filing the Articles of Incorporation at the state level. However, after the corporation has been formed, it may elect S Corporation status by submitting IRS form 2553 to the Internal Revenue Service (in some cases a state filing is required as well). Once this filing is complete, the corporation is taxed like a partnership or sole proprietorship rather than as a separate entity. Thus, the income is “passed-through” to the shareholders for purposes of computing tax liability. Therefore, a shareholder’s individual tax returns will report the income or loss generated by an S-corporation.

    • What factors are required for a corporation to qualify for S Corporation status?

      The corporation must: Be filed as a U.S. corporation. Maintain only one class of stock. Maintain a maximum of 100 shareholders. Be comprised SOLELY of shareholders who are individuals, estates or certain qualified trusts, who consent in writing to the S Corporation election. NOT have a shareholder who is a non-resident alien. Failure to observe ANY of the above requirements could revoke S Corporation status at any time.

    • Who should elect S Corporation status?

      Owners who want the limited liability of a corporation and the “pass-through” tax-treatment of a partnership will often make the S Corporation election. In most cases, corporations that would benefit from S Corporation status are those who plan on distributing the majority of earnings to its shareholders in the year those earnings are derived. Corporations who plan on retaining earnings for future investments in future tax years often choose the C Corporation because under the S Corporation, earnings will be taxed as if they were distributed to shareholders regardless of whether a distribution actually occurred or whether the corporation retained the earnings for future investment.

    • What are the S Corporation formalities?

      An S Corporation follows the same state formalities as does a C corporation (i.e. filing Articles of Incorporation and paying state fees). However, an S Corporation must make a special tax election under sub-chapter S of the Internal Revenue Code by filing IRS Form 2553. In addition, certain states require that the corporation file an S Corporation Election at the state level as well.

    • Why do you need to know my spouse's name?

      This is to establish whether you and your spouse, if you are both shareholders, must be listed separately as shareholders or whether you can be listed together. This is required by the IRS.

  • DBA

    • Do I need a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) for a DBA?

      Legally, one is required to identify a business with one of two numbers: either a Social Security Number or an EIN (Employer Identification Number). If you are a sole proprietor, your Social Security Number can be used on all of your government forms and other official documents, but most small business advisors recommend that you apply for an EIN and use that number instead. If you are a corporation, LLC or other state-level entity, you must obtain an EIN because your business is an entirely separate legal entity.

    • What is a DBA?

      DBA stands for “doing business as” and is an official and public registration of a business name. DBAs are also known as Fictitious Names, Fictitious Business Names, Assumed Names, and Trade Names. Essentially, a DBA is the name of a business other than the owner’s name or, in the case of a corporation, a name that is different from the legal or true corporate name as on file with the Secretary of State.

    • Do I need to file a DBA?

      DBA registration may be necessary if your company conducts any business under a name other than your own name (for sole proprietors) or its legal name (for state-level entities such as corporations and LLCs). “Conducting business” can include marketing, advertising, letterhead, business cards, etc., in addition to actual business transactions. Also, banks may require a DBA registration in order to open a business bank account.

    • Where should I file my DBA?

      DBAs can be filed at the state level and sometimes at the county level depending on the state. Generally, one should file a DBA in the state and/or county in which they are conducting business under the name. In addition, certain jurisdictions require publication of a DBA.

    • What is an example of a DBA?

      For example, if Jane Brown and had a business called “Donuts Unlimited", she would register the business as “Jane Brown". doing business as "Donuts Unlimited". If a corporation was named “ABC ,Inc.,” and wanted to conduct business under the name “Express Cabinets", they may register the business name as “ABC, Inc.," doing business as "Express Cabinets".

    • Does filing a DBA exclude others from using the same name?

      Generally speaking, filing a DBA grants little, if any, exclusivity to use of the name. In many jurisdictions, more than one applicant can file the exact same DBA. The only way to legally ensure exclusive rights to the use of a name is to register a trademark.

    • Are name checks required for DBA filings?

      Generally, some states allow more than one DBA for the same business name, in which case a name check is not required. However, other states will not file the same DBA for two separate owners – in those states, Launch by LegalShield will perform a name check prior to processing documents.

  • LegalShield

    • What is the legal plan and why is it included?

      With a pre-paid legal plan, instead of paying an attorney by the hour, you pay a small monthly fee (starting at $34.90/mo.) and get a variety of legal services. Services like consultation with an attorney, document and contract review, debt collection letters and defense at trial are standard benefits. See what’s included here.

    • Can I cancel the legal plan?

      Yes. You can cancel the legal plan at any time, for any reason (or no reason). Simply contact us and we’ll cancel your plan after the initial three months are complete.

    • What if I already have a Personal or Business LegalShield membership? Is Launch included?

      Launch is it’s own special service and is not included in any other LegalShield plan. However, if you purchase Launch, we’ll charge you the $145 now and suspend your normal monthly membership fee for 3 months to account for the three month plan included with Launch. Once the three months of Launch are complete, we’ll resume billing your normal monthly membership fee.

    • What is a Provider Law Firm?

      LegalShield has dedicated law firms that employ 1,900 attorneys in 49 states and four provinces in Canada, plus an additional 5,000 referral attorneys. The attorneys have been with their respective law firms for an average of 20 years and have a range of experience.

    • What law firm will provide my legal services?

      LegalShield has arranged for you to have access an accomplished law firm available to handle your legal needs. Law firms have been screened, are monitored daily, and are ready to handle your legal matters with the care and concern you deserve. Click here

    • Will I work with the same attorney for every legal matter?

      LegalShield takes the selection of our Provider Law Firms very seriously. While you may not work with the same attorney for every legal issue you have, you will work with the same Provider Law Firm, so you can be assured that you are receiving quality service with any of their attorneys.

    • What happens if my legal issue falls outside of my covered benefits?

      You may continue to use your Provider Attorney for legal situations that extend beyond plan coverage. The additional services are at least 25% off the law firm's standard hourly rates. Your Provider Attorney will let you know when the discount applies, and go over these fees with you.

    • What is LegalShield?

      LegalShield has been providing legal service plans to North American families for over 40 years. Our customers can access legal counsel and advice from qualified lawyers simply by calling a toll-free number. Many other benefits are included, but even at the most basic level our plans allow you to have peace of mind.

    • What is covered under a LegalShield legal plan?

      Access a variety of legal services including: advice on unlimited issues, attorney letters or calls made on your behalf, contract and document review (up to 15 pages each) and more. Review a plan contract for complete terms, coverage, amounts, conditions and exclusions

    • How can I save money with a LegalShield membership?

      The membership fee is significantly less than paying the standard hourly rate at a traditional law firm. Also, instead of ignoring a situation where you've been wronged, you can affordably and easily consult a lawyer.

Form Your Business With the Protection of LegalShield

$145 + State Filing Fees