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Picking a name for your limited liability company

If you want to start a limited liability company, then it's very important to pick the right name. Not only is a business' name crucial for the way it is branded and displayed to the public, but it also has to fit within the legal guidelines that are laid out for LLCs everywhere. A few key points are below.

First of all, the name has to be available and not already in use. You can't steal another company's name, especially if they're in the same sort of industry that you are, and you often can't pick a name that, though technically different, is too close. There is some leeway with common words used in different industries.

Next, your name must demonstrate to people that you own an LLC. You can't hide this by leaving it out. Often, business owners will just put LLC at the end of the chosen name. Other owners will write out Limited Liability Company or the very similar Limited Company. Still others will use Ltd. Liability Co. You have some freedom here, but the company must be clearly marked as an LLC.

Finally, you can't use prohibited words. These come down to state regulations. For example, some states won't let you use the words "Corporation" or "Bank" in your name, as they can be misleading when the company is really an LLC.

If you're ready to start an LLC, there are many legal steps that have to be taken, from checking to see if the name is available to filing the proper paperwork. Be sure you know exactly what to do so that your business is established properly.

Source: FindLaw, "Business Formation & Planning," accessed Dec. 08, 2015

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