A corporate charter defines all that a corporation intends to be and do. This document is then filed with the state government in the state where the corporation is being chartered. Once approved, it defines the corporation as a legal entity. A corporate charter is also known as a corporation's "articles of incorporation". When writing a corporate charter, these basic pieces of information should be included:
Step 1 - Start with the most basic information.
You must include the business name and address. You must have a unique business name. Most states offer a database listing all of the active business names in use in that state. Search through this list to make sure that your desired business name is not already in use.
Step 2 - Define the purpose of the business.
State what the corporation's purpose is. You must define what your business plans to do, and how it plans to operate. This should be done in a general fashion, so as not to limit future growth opportunities for the corporation.
Step 3 - Name the major players in the corporation.
Define the founders of the business being incorporated, listing their names and their roles. You must also define who within the list of players is authorized to act on behalf of the corporation in legal matters. This list may also specify who is required to sign your corporate charter application.
Step 4 - Declare what type of stock, if any, will be offered.
Within the corporate charter, spell out exactly how many shares of stock are to be issued. You must also define the class of the stock, and the approximate value per share of stock.
Step 5 - Pay applicable fees.
In every state, there are applicable fees for filing a corporate charter. Those fees will vary from state to state, but generally fall between $35 and $300.
Writing your corporate charter is key to getting your business off on the right foot. It does not need to be a complicated document. For the best results, check your state government website for specific rules and regulations applicable in your area. Depending on your state, you may also find a template which will allow you to simply fill in the blanks to build your charter. If there is a high level of complexity in your business, you may consider hiring a business attorney to assist you in the preparation of your corporate charter.