Articles of Incorporation


When starting a business, one of the most important steps is to legally establish it as a separate entity. This is where the Articles of Incorporation come into play. Articles of Incorporation are a set of legal documents that outline the basic information about a company and its structure. They serve as the foundation for the company's existence and provide important details about its purpose, ownership, and governance.

What are Articles of Incorporation?

The Articles of Incorporation, also known as a Certificate of Incorporation or Corporate Charter, are a legal document that a business files with the state government to establish itself as a corporation. This document contains essential information about the company, such as its name, purpose, registered agent, and the number and type of shares it is authorized to issue.

Articles of Incorporation vary from state to state, but they generally include the following key elements:

  • Company Name: The legal name of the corporation, which must be unique and not already in use by another business.
  • Purpose: A statement that describes the primary activities or objectives of the corporation.
  • Registered Agent: The individual or entity designated to receive legal documents on behalf of the corporation.
  • Shares: The number and type of shares the corporation is authorized to issue.
  • Directors: The names and addresses of the initial directors of the corporation.
  • Duration: The period of time the corporation intends to operate, which is typically stated as “perpetual” unless otherwise specified.

Why are Articles of Incorporation important?

Articles of Incorporation are crucial for several reasons:

  1. Legal Recognition: By filing Articles of Incorporation, a business gains legal recognition as a separate legal entity. This means that the corporation is treated as a distinct entity from its owners, providing limited liability protection to its shareholders.
  2. Corporate Structure: The Articles of Incorporation outline the structure of the corporation, including the number of shares, the roles and responsibilities of directors and officers, and the procedures for making important decisions.
  3. Investor Confidence: When seeking funding from investors, having a well-drafted Articles of Incorporation can instill confidence in potential investors. It demonstrates that the company has a clear structure and is committed to operating in a professional and transparent manner.
  4. Legal Compliance: Filing Articles of Incorporation is a legal requirement in most jurisdictions. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in penalties, fines, or even the dissolution of the corporation.

How to draft Articles of Incorporation

Drafting Articles of Incorporation can be a complex process, and it is advisable to seek professional assistance from an attorney or a business formation service. However, understanding the key components can help you navigate the process more effectively. Here are some important steps to consider:

  1. Choose a Business Name: Select a unique and memorable name for your corporation. Make sure to check the availability of the name in your state's business name database.
  2. Define the Purpose: Clearly state the primary activities or objectives of your corporation. This can be broad or specific, depending on the nature of your business.
  3. Appoint a Registered Agent: Designate an individual or entity to receive legal documents on behalf of your corporation. The registered agent must have a physical address in the state where the corporation is formed.
  4. Decide on Share Structure: Determine the number and type of shares your corporation is authorized to issue. Common types of shares include common shares and preferred shares.
  5. Identify Initial Directors: Provide the names and addresses of the initial directors of your corporation. These individuals will be responsible for managing the affairs of the corporation.
  6. Include Additional Provisions: Depending on your specific needs, you may want to include additional provisions in your Articles of Incorporation. These provisions can address matters such as shareholder rights, restrictions on share transfers, or the process for amending the Articles.
  7. File the Articles: Once you have drafted the Articles of Incorporation, you need to file them with the appropriate state agency, usually the Secretary of State or the Corporations Division. There is typically a filing fee associated with this process.

Examples of Articles of Incorporation

While the specific content of Articles of Incorporation may vary, here are a few examples of how different sections can be structured:

Company Name:

The name of the corporation shall be XYZ Corporation.


The purpose of the corporation is to engage in any lawful activity for which corporations may be organized under the laws of the state of incorporation.

Registered Agent:

The registered agent of the corporation shall be John Doe, located at 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA.


The corporation is authorized to issue 1,000,000 shares of common stock, with a par value of $1 per share.


The initial directors of the corporation are:

  • John Smith, 456 Oak Avenue, Anytown, USA
  • Jane Johnson, 789 Maple Street, Anytown, USA


Articles of Incorporation are a vital component of establishing a corporation. They provide legal recognition, outline the structure of the corporation, and instill confidence in investors. By understanding the key elements and following the necessary steps, entrepreneurs can ensure that their Articles of Incorporation accurately reflect their business and comply with legal requirements. Seeking professional assistance during the drafting process can help navigate the complexities and ensure a solid foundation for the corporation's future success.

Leave a Reply