Church Incorporation - Virginia

This is a discussion on Church Incorporation - Virginia within the Other Nonprofit Law Issues forum, part of the NONPROFIT LAW & FUNDRAISING category; In incorporating a church in the state of Virginia (nonprofit organization), what are some of the requirements. For example must ...

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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 09:41 AM   #1
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Question Church Incorporation - Virginia

In incorporating a church in the state of Virginia (nonprofit organization), what are some of the requirements. For example must you select a president, a vice president and a secretary for the church?

If you could give me a brief outline of the requirements for becoming
incorporated, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanking you in advance,

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Old Mar 18th, 2009, 01:40 AM   #2

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Corporation. An artificial person or legal entity created by or under the authority of the laws of a state. An association of persons created by statute as a legal entity.

The legal attributes of the corporation, and the alleged “benefits” that attorneys most commonly discuss with churches to convince them of their need to incorporate are:

1. A corporation has limited liability protection.
2. A corporation may exist in perpetuity.
3. A corporation may hold title to real property.

One additional legal attribute of any corporation is something that attorneys generally don't like to discuss with their church clients:

A corporation may sue and be sued.

In point of fact, there is a great deal that your attorney is not likely to disclose, in the way of the various legal attributes of the corporation, that you might not find so attractive. In the landmark case of Hale vs. Henkel, the U.S. Supreme Court stated the following regarding corporations:

Upon the other hand, the corporation is a creature of the State. It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the public. It receives certain special privileges and franchises, and holds them subject to the laws of the State and the limitations of its charter. Its powers are limited by law. It can make no contract not authorized by its charter. Its rights to act as a corporation are only preserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its creation.

Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43 at 74 (1906)

From this case we learn that:

* A corporation is “a creature of the State.”
* The State is "sovereign" over the corporation.
* The corporation is “incorporated for the benefit of the public.”
* A corporation is a State “franchise.”
* Incorporation is a State “privilege.”
* A corporation is “subject to the laws of the State.”
* “Its powers are limited by law.”
* It must “obey the laws of its creation.”
* A corporation has no constitutionally-protected rights.

These are not new or novel legal principles that the Supreme Court just discovered in 1906. Rather, these are legal principles that date back many centuries. The corporation is a product of ancient Rome. The corporation, as the legal entity we are familiar with today, dates back to at least 250 B.C.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 11:27 PM   #3
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A non-profit association is an incorporated association run with the primary purpose other than to make profit. The not-for-profit associations fall into three categories. Educational institutions and charitable associations for public benefit, trusts for the mutual benefit of the members and religious establishments like churches, religious beneficial programs and religious education.
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