Free Articles of Incorporation
'Articles of Incorporation' is the actual document name that you file with the state governing agency. When I say governing agency I am referring to an agency such as a Secretary of State or Corporation Division.
Upon filing Articles of Incorporation, some states give you back a certificate of incorporation or a corporate charter. Articles of Incorporation must be filed with the state to incorporate the corporation.
We provide free Articles of Incorporation below in a PDF format or a Word doc format. Please feel free to use our article template, but please do not take this form as a replacement of competent legal counsel for your specific needs.
Articles of incorporation can be long and drawn out articles or they can be drastically simplified. The main purpose is to have something in writing to file with the state.
States have minimum filing requirements, and most states have generic pdf forms you can use on their website to file. The funny trend we’ve noticed in Articles of Incorporation filing has honestly been started by Secretaries of State. They are simplifying their filing processes. Let me explain: Articles of Incorporation used to be specifically drafted by attorneys. As you know, attorneys take on a lot of liability for offering their advice, so their drafted documents can get quite wordy. Ultimately you can write whatever you want in your Articles of Incorporation, as long as the state minimum requirements are met when you file the articles with the Secretary of State. If you meet the requirements you’ll get a new corporation established.
When it started to change was around when the internet came out. People started getting a little smarter. The states started providing generic Articles of Incorporation forms, where they just wrote the state minimum requirements on a form. Why did they start doing that? Well some attorneys can write articles that are 15 pages long, and basically say the same thing as a one page Articles of Incorporation form provided by the state. Can you imagine the training process and how much longer the state agencies would take to just process and read through the never-ending stack of corporations waiting to be filed? All a state clerk is looking for is the minimum requirements so that person can put their approved stamp on it, and move on. When a state only requires 3 things to incorporate, and there are 15 pages of text to look through... well, you can see how much of a potential waste of time it can be for the states.
Why are the state generic forms basically the same thing as long drawn out Articles of Incorporation you ask? The law is the law. You can cite code after code about your articles, but if an article contradicts the law, it doesn’t really mean anything. To take it a step further… almost every state has laws stating the limitation of liability of the officers and directors of a corporation. That’s the whole point of incorporating, but some people like to state this fact on the Articles of Incorporation too. When we file Articles of Incorporation, we state this, so it makes people feel good. When you state on your Articles of Incorporation that the officers and directors are limited in their liability, it’s basically regurgitating a state law that if you ended up in court, would be the basis of the judge's decision anyway; not the Articles of Incorporation. That being said, every state is different. For the everyday business, basic Articles of Incorporation are just fine. For bigger businesses with complicated management needs, a more definitive attorney drafted Articles of Incorporation should be required,
Most Articles of Incorporation include:
If you would like to only use our registered agent service, and file the articles yourself, it's only $125 a year; and you’ll get the state forms to file, in your online account immediately. You also get filing instructions for the quickest and cheapest way to file articles of incorporation, plus have the most comprehensive registered agent service out there today. .