From the moment you decide to start a business, the list of essential documents and records to be kept begins to grow. The type of business you run will of course dictate some of the more specific types of records you need to keep; everything from financial and tax records, to client and employee records are all pretty standard. What about the records that will help protect you in the event of a disagreement with a business partner, contractor, or employee? What if you decide to do business with a government agency, or your’re looking for new investors? How about when you are ready to retire, or simply prepare for the unexpected? Then what will you need?
The answer is simple, documented agreements that clearly define your rights and obligations. The following are some of those types of documents to keep handy…
Forming a business entity requires filing documents with the state and paying a fee. A document forming a corporation is often known as a Certificate of Incorporation, while one creating a limited liability company (LLC) is known as a Certificate of Organization.
Bylaws and Other Governing Documents
Every business needs bylaws or regulations that govern voting rights for shareholders or members, as well as matters like the election of directors or managers.
Foreign Registration Documents
A business must register with every state, known in this context as a foreign jurisdiction, in which it maintains a business presence.
The very first actions taken by the shareholders or members of a new business, such as appointing the initial Board of Directors, should be put in writing.
Stockholder or Member Agreements
The initial and future owners of the business need a written agreement defining their rights and responsibilities.
Businesses should keep minutes of their shareholder or member meetings, as well as all director or manager meetings.
Any actions taken at these meetings should be documented and signed.
Ledgers and Schedules
Officers of a corporation or LLC have a fiduciary duty to the shareholders or members to maintain accurate records of their ownership interests.
Periodic accounting statements are essential to determining a company’s financial condition.
Employment and Contractor Agreements, Employment Policies
Businesses must take care to comply with state and federal employment laws, and they should maintain consistent standards for employee and contractor relations.
About Oakstone Law, PL
Oakstone Law PL was founded by Bob Kleinknecht. A member of the Florida Family Trust Company Subcommittee, the Estate Tax & Trust Planning (ETTP) Committee and the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law (RPPTL) Section of the Florida Bar, Kleinknecht has 15 years’ experience.
Prior to founding Oakstone law, he spent more than eight years serving as a personal, in-house estate, tax and charitable planning attorney for a Forbes 400 family in New York and Florida. Before that he was an estate planning and estate settlement attorney with prominent firms in Boston and Washington, D.C. after beginning his career with a boutique firm in Naples, Florida.
Licensed in Florida and Massachusetts, Kleinknecht has developed a practice model that eliminates billing by the hour and offers a streamlined, customized client process supported by technology, security and a personal approach.