You may decide to change the name of your LLC for various reasons. The LLC may have the initials of a previous member, you may think of a more marketable name for your business, or your company may be carrying around an outdated name that contains an old catchphrase. Whatever the reason for your decision, changing the name of an LLC is generally not very difficult. You may find it easier to effect the name change than to remember to revise advertising and marketing materials.
Determine whether the new name you have chosen is available by contacting the secretary of state for the state in which the LLC was formed. The contact information for the secretary of state’s office can usually be found on its website. Some states, including the state of Tennessee, make searching for name availability easy by allowing online searches from their websites. Most states require a separate and distinct name for each LLC. The state of Alabama, however, does not restrict the use of identical names by more than one LLC.
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File an amendment, sometimes referred to as Articles of Amendment, to the Articles of Organization in the secretary of state’s office for the state in which the LLC is organized. You will be required to pay any filing fees due at this time. Some states allow you to file the amendment online and pay the filing fees by credit card. Other states may have a different filing location, however. For example, Alabama law requires that LLC documents be filed in the probate office for the county in which the LLC is organized instead of at the state level. You will also need to file the completed, registered amendment document in the property records of any county in which the LLC may own property. Doing so puts the public on notice that the ownership name on the property has changed.
Draft, or have your attorney draft, an amendment to your operating agreement so that it properly reflects the new name. Not all LLCs have an operating agreement, which governs the operation of the company, but for those that do, the appropriate revisions need to be made.
Merge with another LLC so that the surviving name of the LLC is that of the other company. A merger into another company will effectively change the name of the merging LLC so that it no longer exists. You should file the Certificate of Merger in the property records of any county in which the LLC owned property prior to the merger.
Any amendments to LLC documents may require unanimous consent of all members of the company.
Consult with an attorney familiar with LLCs in the event you need assistance or are unsure about your state's business laws.
Marie Murdock has been employed in the legal and title insurance industries for over 25 years. Murdock was first published in print in 1979 and has been writing online articles since mid-2010. Her articles have appeared on LegalZoom and various other websites.