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Changing your Corporate or LLC Name

What is the Process, and What are the Issues, in Changing your Corporate or LLC Name

The name you picked and placed on your articles of incorporation or your articles of organization is no longer the appropriate name for your objectives! You have choices available.

You can change the registered company name.  In the Commonwealth of Virginia changes to the entity name are filed with the State Corporation Commission as an amendment to the Articles of Organization or the Articles of Incorporation. The amendment must be properly approved according to the organizational formation documents and filed for acceptance.  Once the company name is changed, you will need to notify all parties you work with, including the IRS and your banks, of the change in name. Remember your entity has remained the same and, therefore, your accounts, employer identification number, and debts and obligations all remain the same.

Remember to change your office signage and your on-line signage. Change your websites, copyright notices and contracts. If you have lenders or any other persons or entities who maintain security interests, they too will require notification, so they may protect their security interests.

Don't forget to change your business cards, e-mail addresses, letterhead, and all other marketing materials.  The list will be lengthy.

If you don't truly want to change your corporate name, but would prefer to develop a division or a marketing presence, you may choose to adopt a tradename for the company or business unit. You are required to properly register the tradename in the county in which your business is located and, subsequently, at the State Corporation Commission if you operate outside your county of registration. You may then begin to use the tradename, providing notice to those business partners for whom the change of identification is important. Because your entity name has remained the same, contracts will remain in your corporate name and include your trading as name.

Remember you can use more than one tradename, but your entity and the contracting entity will remain as the original corporate party registered with the State. In all cases of name selection you will want to make sure the original corporate name or any tradename, both of which you will invest marketing dollars into, are not similar to an existing business. Those in existence have a priority in interest and use and retain the right to force you to stop using a name. Many business and operators choose to register their names through the United States Patent and Trademark Office for nationwide registration.  If you do not obtain nationwide registration your name priority is geographically based to your region of use.

When you want to change your original name selection, there are options and solutions for you.

For further information please contact the Business Services Division of Hale Ball.

Since 1980 the AV-rated law firm of Hale Ball has served the legal needs of individuals and businesses. Our team of attorneys include lawyers named to Super Lawyer and Rising Star lists, as well as attorneys with advanced legal degrees, specialty certifications and lawyers who teach their areas of practice to other lawyers.

Use the contact form on this page to schedule a consultation, or call 703-591-4900.

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