Why form a Professional Corporation?
A Professional Corporation is a legal structure authorized by state law for a fairly narrow list of licensed professions. These licenses professions include lawyers, doctors, accountants, and architects. Unlike a regular corporation, a professional corporation does not absolve a professional for personal liability for her own negligence or malpractice. The main reason why groups of professions choose this organizational structure is that, unlike a general partnership, owners are not personally liable for the malpractice of other owners. In some states, limited liability partnerships offer this same benefit and may be more desirable for other reasons
But you have a company to manage, and formation takes time.
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What happens when you file a Professional Corporation? Professional Corporations are formed by filing Articles of Incorporation in the state in which the business will operate. The act of incorporating creates a legal entity. Often there are particular requirements by the certifying agency overseeing the practice of the professional. The specific language that may be required by the professional’s governing board should be included in the Articles of Incorporation for the Professional Corporation.
In summary, a Professional Corporation has the following benefits:
- A Professional Corporation provides liability protection. Separation of business and personal assets of the owners is critical. A Professional Corporation provides for the separation of these assets from other members of the professional group. It does not, however, protect the individual from personal malpractice or negligence.
- Professional Corporations apply to certain professionals. Most states provide for Professional Corporations under certain statutes that allow the corporation to operate with a single director, who is a professional.