You should consult with an attorney prior to starting your business. Many business owners are able to fill out the forms provided by the North Carolina Secretary of State to start a business without an attorney, but you need an attorney to explain what types of documents and steps are necessary to allow your business to stand up in a court of law. Most people decide to start a company and go to the NC Secretary of State website and choose an entity that their friends mentioned. There are various reasons why one business entity would be better for you than another. You should consult an accountant to choose the best entity for tax purposes. Business owners desire to avoid personal liability in case something goes wrong with the business. An attorney can walk you through the steps to protect yourself as much as possible from having your personal assets exposed to potential lawsuits. Unfortunately, business owners think this will never happen to them.
Once a lawsuit is filed or is looming, options are much more limited. Initial planning using the advice of an attorney can make all the difference. Do not wait until a lawsuit is filed to schedule an appointment to protect your personal assets. There are requirements that have to be followed to prevent creditors and plaintiffs from “piercing the corporate veil” and reaching your personal assets. It is not enough to simply form the LLC or Corporation. Courts may determine that the requirements were not followed and rule that a business owner’s personal assets are at risk. Good planning starts before the trouble begins.