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But I Can Do it by Myself for Less…

When handling it yourself is not a good idea from a legal perspective

 

It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything…”

  • Common Law of Business Balance (frequently attributed to John Ruskin 1819-1900, but this attribution is unconfirmed and often contested)

 

Potential Client:       “I’m looking to create a new LLC (or corporation or limited partnership). What would you charge to do that?”

[Attorney provides price for entity formation]

Potential Client:       “Well, I read online I can form it myself for less than that.”

Attorney:                 “Possibly, but it may not be advisable.”

Potential Client:       “Why not? You don’t have to be a lawyer to form your own entity, right?”

Attorney:                 “Correct, but you also do not have to be a dentist to extract your own wisdom teeth, and you do not have to be a physician to give yourself stiches, but neither are recommended.”

Potential Client:       “Well, that is different. That’s medical.”

Attorney:                 “You do not have to be a licensed master mechanic to replace your own transmission, and you do not have to be a licensed electrician to do certain electrical work in your own home, but neither are recommended unless you have the proper equipment, training and experience.”

Potential Client:       “Well, that is different. That’s complicated and potentially dangerous.”

Attorney:                 “You do not have to be a licensed barber or cosmetologist to cut your own hair.”

Potential Client:       “But I would never cut my own hair, it would look horrible.”

Attorney:                 “If you don’t trust yourself cutting your own hair, which will grow back in weeks, why would you risk making such an important decision as forming your new business without advice from an attorney with training, knowledge and experience with entity formations?”

Potential Client:       “OK, I get your point… How quickly can you get an entity formed for me?”

 

The reality is there are a lot of things you can do for and by yourself that do not legally require you to pay a licensed professional to do, but it may not be advisable or prudent to do so. This is extraordinarily true when it comes to forming a new entity for your business. As an attorney at a firm that has helped thousands of clients start new businesses, we understand funds are often tight when starting out. Looking for areas to save money in the beginning is not only wise but often necessary.

Our experience has shown us, however, that the few hundred dollars you may manage to save by forming an entity yourself is rarely, if ever, worth it in the long run. It will often cost you thousands of dollars later to fix filing and formation errors. Even the slightest of errors in forming a company can have significant and sometimes disastrous effects on the business and the business owners. One such potentially catastrophic effect we often see from self-formed entities is failure of the corporate shield, which is intended to protect the business owner from personal liability. This results in said owner finding him/herself personally liable for debts and obligations of the company. In such cases, the business owner’s personal assets can be at risk and the financial blow devastating. At The Strong Firm P.C., we have assisted thousands of clients in properly forming their new entity to ensure the client has the best protection from personal liability, and we would be glad to do the same for you.

 

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