How To Incorporate Yourself Without a Lawyer
J. Stephen Pope
How To Incorporate Yourself Without a Lawyer
by J. Stephen Pope
You could save hundreds of dollars by incorporating
yourself without a lawyer. How? Is it advisable
to do so?
1. This is Not Legal Advice!
The only ones who should be giving legal advice are
those licensed to practise law (in other words,
only lawyers). This article is not legal advice.
If you need legal advice, consult a lawyer.
This article is being written simply to inform you
that it is possible to form a corporation or limited
liability company without a lawyer.
2. Why Use a Lawyer?
First of all, if you make a mistake incorporating
yourself, who do you sue? You only have yourself
to blame. On the other hand, a lawyer has insurance
to cover errors and omissions.
Secondly, you could benefit from the expertise of
your lawyer. Perhaps a corporation isn`t the
right vehicle for you under your circumstances.
Be aware that there can be disadvantages as well
as advantages to incorporating. Your lawyer can
consider commercial law, securities legislation,
limited liability, tax factors, estate planning,
share structure, and a myriad of other business
considerations. Sometimes the advice of a
good lawyer can save you thousands of dollars.
3. Is it Advisable to Incorporate Yourself?
Is it advisable to perform surgery on yourself?
It is illegal to perform surgery on someone
else unless you are licensed to practise medicine,
but perhaps in a wilderness survival scenario,
self-surgery might be your only option. However,
is performing surgery on yourself really a good
idea in most instances?
Likewise, just because it is possible to incorporate
yourself without a lawyer doesn`t mean it is always
a good idea.
In some jurisdictions, only lawyers can
incorporate others. For a paralegal or other
person to incorporate a company for you could be
considered unauthorized practise of law. Thus,
it may be legal to incorporate yourself but not
Some factors you might consider are: Am I really
that short of cash that I can`t spend the extra
money for good legal advice that may save me
thousands of dollars? Am I confident that my
situation is one that really doesn`t need the
services of a lawyer to incorporate? Can the
money saved on legal fees be better utilized in
financing other aspects of my business?
Each person will have to make their own decision
on whether or not to seek the services of a lawyer
in forming a corporation.
"He who has himself as a lawyer has a fool for
a client." I have often thought that perhaps a
law firm originated this common expression.
4. How To Incorporate Yourself
Many books have been written by lawyers on how
to incorporate yourself.
For example, in Canada, M. Stephen Georgas, LL.B.,
has written books on the subject of forming
your own corporation. Published by International
Self-Counsel Press Ltd., he has authored
"Incorporation and Business Guide for Ontario"
("How to form your own corporation
Includes tax advantages to incorporating") and
"Federal Incorporation And Business Guide"
("How to form your own Federal corporation under
The Canada Business Corporations Act").
The same publisher sells forms and minute books as
well as titles for incorporating in other provinces
Forms, corporate supplies, name searches, and
kits are available from legal stationers and other
In the United States, there are likewise many manuals
available for incorporating yourself in various
states. "Incorporating Your Business For Dummies"
by The Company Corporation and "How To Form Your
Own Corporation Without a Lawyer for Under $75.00"
by Ted Nicholas are two such books.
Sometimes helpful information on this subject is
available from federal, provincial and state
governments for free or nominal cost.
You can sometimes locate incorporation manuals at
your local library for free. Be careful. Legal
manuals become outdated very rapidly. You might
consider very seriously purchasing the most
up-to-date manual available; it might also include
helpful reference material on maintaining corporate
minutes and other helpful suggestions on operating
Buy the appropriate manual and supplies and then
follow the instructions. With a little effort, you
could save hundreds of dollars incorporating yourself
without a lawyer.
For further resources on incorporation, please visit:
J. Stephen Pope, President of Pope Consulting Inc.,
http://www.popeconsultinginc.com/ has been helping
clients to earn maximum business profits for over
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