Creating a limited liability company, or LLC, is one way to protect an individual's personal assets from potential creditors or in the event of a lawsuit. An LLC separates personal assets from business assets, so should your business fail, an LLC protects your personal finances from your business interests. Unlike a sole proprietorship, the personal assets of the members won't be at risk if the business fails or if the company is sued. Forming and making changes to an LLC is a simple process with nominal processing charges.
Making changes to a Georgia LLC requires filing Articles of Amendment with the Georgia Secretary of State's office and paying a small fee. A downloadable form is available on their website.
Forming an LLC
The first step in creating an LLC is choosing a name for your company. The name must include the words limited liability company or LLC. Keep it brief – your company name can’t have more than 80 characters including spaces and punctuation. You must also be sure the LLC’s name is entirely different from that of any other Georgia company. To find out if the name you choose is available, use the Georgia Secretary of State business search function, which lists all companies registered in the state. If the name hasn’t been taken you can reserve it on the spot for $25.
Filing the Articles of Organization
After you’ve reserved your company’s name, prepare Articles of Organization. This sounds more complicated than it is. The appropriate Form CD 030 can be downloaded from the secretary of state’s website. The information required is the name of the proposed LLC, and the signatures of all the organizers, members or your signature should also include your official title with the company. The completed form can be e-filed or mailed with a $100 filing fee to the corporations division.
Articles of Amendment for an LLC
Occasionally, it may become necessary to make changes to your LLC’s original articles of organization. The only way to make these changes is to file articles of amendment for the LLC with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. There is a specific form for filing amendments, but whether or not you use the form is up to you. It’s wise to consult a lawyer to make sure you’re complying with the most up-to-date secretary of state name change amendment requirements.
The Georgia Articles of Amendment for an LLC consists of four articles. The first asks for the current name of the LLC; the second asks you to provide the date you filed the original articles of organization; the third asks you for the new name of the LLC. The last article will specify the effective date of the changes. The name change must also comply with the requirements for naming an LLC in Georgia. You can make the changes effective on the filing date or at a later point in time, but not later than 90 days after filing the articles of amendment for LLCs. Sign the document according to the same procedure you used when filing the initial LLC paperwork. There is a $20 fee to amend your original filing.