The actual steps you take to form an Alabama limited liability company are pretty simple. You can, if you want, follow the instructions below. (These instructions are up-to-date as of July 27, 2020.)
We’ve also got a free, downloadable “do it yourself” kit you can use. In other words, the price you pay to purchase equals “zero.” That kit provides more information about LLCs and includes a couple of free LLC operating agreements. (We used to sell the kit but since the Covid-19 pandemic have simply given the kit away.)
1. Check if the name you want for your LLC is available
The name of an LLC in Alabama must be reserved. As a first step, you may want to check if the LLC name you want to use is even available. An easy first step is to search the first link below to see if the name you want is already being used.
When you find a name that seems available, you can reserve it at:
Your corporate name must end with the words Limited Liability Company or an abbreviation of these words (L.L.C. or LLC). For example, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Acme Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Acme Explosives LLC
- Acme Explosives L.L.C.
Make sure you save a copy of your name reservation certificate; you will need to attach it to your application when you file.
2. Download the certificate of formation form from the Alabama Secretary of State’s web site
The URL, or web page address, for this form is as shown below.
Or you can file online at:
3. State the name you want to use for your new LLC
Enter your business or investment name onto the lines provided. (I used the example name, “Acme Explosives LLC.”) This is the name you reserved in step 1. The form then instructs you that you will need to attach your name reservation certificate.
4. State who is preparing the form
Enter the name and address of the person filling out the form.
5. Give the principal office of the limited liability company
Enter the street address of the LLC’s main office.
6. Identify yourself as the registered agent and provide your address
You need to provide your name and address as the registered agent. A P.O. box is not acceptable.
7. Consider the duration of the LLC
If you have a desired date of dissolution, write that down on a separate piece of paper and attach it to the application. (Also see item 11 on page 3 of the Alabama form.) If not, your LLC will have a perpetual duration and you should put “perpetual” in the blank as shown in the example.
8. Check the appropriate box for series or professional LLCs
If you are forming either a series or a professional LLC, check the corresponding box in item 5.
9. Specify the effective date
The certificate of formation will be effective on the date it is filed unless otherwise specified in item 6.
11. Attach elements of your operating agreement
If the terms of your operating agreement call for the right to admit additional members, you must attach the terms and conditions. Likewise, attach any terms of dissolving the LLC due to a member ceasing to participate. Obviously, these are important areas for multiple-member LLCs to agree upon ahead of time.
12. Date and sign
Remember after printing the form, at the bottom of the form, you will need to add your signature and the date.
13. Submit the application
After you complete the certificate of formation, mail the original and two copies of the document along with a check payable to the Secretary of State for $100 (in some jurisdictions you can pay by credit card) to the probate judge in the county where the LLC’s registered office is located. The probate judge will collect the Secretary of State filing fee and forward it, along with the filed copy, to the Secretary of State.
The Corporations Division receives some 500 requests each day for information regarding its 250,000 filings. This means that processing lead times vary, but in general, it takes several weeks to get your LLC certificate back.