Do I Need an Attorney to Form a Corporation?

Incorporating is just a small part of the process of starting a business and making sure that what you are setting up makes sense for you. Hiring an attorney to set up the corporation will make it far more likely that the job is done right; however, in terms of the actual incorporation process, there is no requirement that you hire an attorney to incorporate your business.

There are several options for incorporation, aside from hiring an attorney, including using:

  • Interactive software programs;
  • Tear-out forms available in incorporating guides;
  • Forms available from your state government, typically at the Secretary of State’s office;
  • Corporate service companies.

You should consider hiring an attorney to form your corporation if any or all of the following applies to your business:

  • If the incorporation of your business will require complicated agreements;
  • If you plan to incorporate in one state, while registering to do business in another or more than one other state;
  • If you anticipate complicated tax or other legal issues involving the incorporation of your business;
  • If you plan to raise capital from outside investors.

Corporate service companies like fall somewhere between a lawyer and fill-in-the-blank forms. With LegalZoom, you fill in an online form and your answers are inserted into the appropriate legal documents. This costs less than an attorney, and leads you through the entire incorporation process, including the filing with the Secretary of State. LegalZoom can also help you complete your S-corporation election form, apply for an employer ID number, and order a corporate kit with a corporate seal.

Should you decide to hire an attorney, read How Do I Find a Corporate Attorney? for advice on how to locate one who specializes in incorporation.