YES, in my opinion. While an attorney is not a legal requirement, online formation services and document providers will typically only provide you with fill-in-the-blank forms (form Operating Agreement, form Organization Minutes, and form Membership Interest documents), which unfortunately eliminates the main benefit of the LLC – the ability to customize the relationship of the members. These online services also often leave the members to operate the LLC with little or no instruction, which in a majority of cases causes the LLC members to lose their personal limited liability protection, thus exposing each of the members to potential personal liability for the LLC’s debts and obligations. “Would you go to a nurse, instead of a doctor, for cardiac surgery?” But the reality is most people will not see a lawyer until they are forced to hire a litigation attorney, or bankruptcy attorney, who informs them that they could have protected their personal assets, but didn’t.

Most attorneys, especially civil litigators, have a lot to gain from owners of companies (especially LLCs and Corporations) who fail to form and operate their business with the required formalities because instead of spending a few hundred dollars a year with a business attorney or corporate attorney to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, now the individual is going to spend $10,000 to $50,000 to defend a lawsuit, and still face the real probability of not only having to file a company bankruptcy, but a personal bankruptcy as well.

The reason for the custom documents is to provide, amongst a multitude of other things, (1) detailed instructions on how to run and operate the LLC; (2) qualifications as to who can be a manager of the LLC; (3) restrictions on which members/managers can bind the limited liability company; (4) provisions to reduce the likelihood of disputes among the members; and (5) a mechanism to resolve disputes or a deadlock among the members without costly litigation (at least where possible).

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