Legal documents for small businesses and startups
You are ready to launch your business but you don’t know which paperwork you need to do or how to get it. Need a legal documents compliance checklist?
Here it is!
1. THE MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION – ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION – CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION
These documents enable you to set-up your business:
- The certificate of incorporation incorporates your company as a legal entity. Better to carefully choose the structure of your business because it will have tax and hiring implications- most businesses choose to incorporate their company as a company limited by shares (LTD).
- The articles of association establish the rules of your business. Find default model articles which you can use until you choose to change the rules governing your company.
2. A SHAREHOLDERS’ AGREEMENT
You define the relationship between your company shareholders by drafting your shareholders’ agreement.
3. A DIRECTORS’ SERVICE AGREEMENT
Beyond the legal duties of your directors under the Companies Act 2006 you might want to assign additional duties. This agreement is essentially the employment agreement for Directors and it lays out their rights and responsibilities – working hours, termination, role.
4. AN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT
When you hire an employee, drafting an employment agreement is a requirement. It is important for you because default legal provisions favor employees.
5. A NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT
When you are sharing information – e.g. financial information to a prospective buyer – you need this agreement to keep it confidential. If the confidential information is disclosed by the other party you have grounds to sue.
6. A SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT
You need this contract if a third party agrees to develop your software application. The purpose, in particular, is to set out the milestones, plan for development, and to protect your intellectual property.
8. A WEBSITE/APP TERMS AND CONDITIONS
These explain to your customers what they can and cannot do on your website and any applicable rules – e.g. minimum age of users.
HOW CAN I GET THEM?
There are a lot of templates online but you should get the right documents drafted by a specialist lawyer. You will need to consult experts in all areas – business law, intellectual property law.
Why? You don’t know…
- Who drafted the online templates.
- If the template is legally up to date.
- Which legal implications are attached to the clauses.
- Any additional documents you might need.
- Vague wording may result in a misunderstanding, subsequent arguments and lost time and/or money.
You know where to start now with this checklist of legal documents and tips to have them drafted.
More tips for startups:
If you’re unsure about the legal advice that you or your startup requires, we can help you find a suitable lawyer to talk you through your needs and answer the legal questions you may have.