The decision to form a cooperative has been made. While the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center encourages the engagement of legal counsel to guide this process, the steering team and future board of directors should know which questions to ask to ensure that the cooperative is legally structured, and that legal procedures are followed as the cooperative begins operations and policy decisions are made.
What are the legal documents required in Nebraska to establish your cooperative?
Articles of Incorporation are a set of documents filed with the Nebraska Secretary of State to legally document the creation of your cooperative. Information necessary or useful in order to complete the articles include:
- The cooperative name (must be distinctive and include the word “cooperative”)
- Purpose(s) of the cooperative and principal place of business
- The name and street address (must be located within the state of Nebraska) of the registered office and registered agent
- Proposed duration of the cooperative (if other than perpetual duration)
- Names and addresses of the incorporators (Nebraska law requires ten incorporators for stock cooperatives)
- How the capital structure with be organized
- How assets will be distributed upon dissolution
After the organizing committee approves the articles of incorporation, the document is filed with the Secretary of State, with the appropriate recording fees. Once chartered, the cooperative should promptly adopt bylaws.
Photo courtesy: Lance Cheung, USDA (Flickr/Public Domain)