How to Change an LLC Name in Rhode Island? (Full Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: March 14, 2024
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Changing your Rhode Island LLC's name is a great way to showcase a new look for your business or reflect legal modifications. However, the process can become quite time-consuming if you're uncertain about the necessary steps.

To prevent time wastage and additional expenses, I have decided to collaborate with legal experts and incorporate our field experience into this guide.

Here, you will find everything you need to know about legally changing your business name, based on what I've learned over the years working as an LLC consultant.

Quick Summary

  • You can change your Rhode Island LLC name by filing a Rhode Island Amendment Certificate to the Secretary of State.
  • Multi-member LLCs need formal member approval. Hold a meeting, initiate voting, and update the Operating Agreement based on mutual decisions.
  • With Rhode Island experiencing a first-year business failure rate of 27.2%, significantly above the national average of 20.8%, changing your LLC's name could serve as a crucial pivot or refresh strategy to stand out and improve longevity in a competitive market.
  • In my consulting experience, missing any step in the LLC name change process can lead to legal complications, financial disruptions, and professional credibility challenges.


3 Steps To Change An LLC Name In Rhode Island

Writing on an office desk in Rhode Island

Make sure to go through each step carefully if you want to change your Rhode Island LLC's name. Missing any part could cause legal issues and financial problems.

It's worth noting that according to Crowdspring, 74% of the S&P 100 companies have rebranded within their first seven years, highlighting the commonality and potential necessity of such changes for business growth [1].

These are the steps you will need to take to change your LLC name:

1. Choose A New Rhode Island LLC Name

Once you make sure that your name is available you will need to choose a new Rhode Island LLC name, which has to be approved by the LLC's owner or the LLC's members [2].

Remember to abide by the general name requirements before you choose a name.

The LLC tag must be at the end of the name, and the name must differ from other existing business names.

If you plan to change your LLC name in the future, you can always opt for name reservation, securing the desired name until you're ready to make the switch.

LLC Name Reservation in Rhode Island

You can file a name reservation form for $50 online with the Rhode Island Secretary of State.

The filing fee is non-refundable, and the name reservation lasts 120 days from the filing date [3].

In the form, you will be required to provide the applicant's business name and principal office address, the filer's contact information, and a signature, after which you can submit the information.

After filing an amendment, to protect our name across the United States, we filed a federal trade or service mark through the Secretary of State of Rhode Island office.

2. Get Member Approval for Name Change

If you are a multi-member LLC, you need to reach out to your owners or members to officially approve the name change.

In general, the steps for a name change in a multi-member LLC usually involve the following:

  • Holding a formal meeting
  • Initiating the voting process
  • Updating the Operating Agreement based on a mutual decision

3. File Articles of Amendment

Filing an amendment certificate in Rhode Island

You must pay a filing fee of $50 to file Articles of Amendment to Articles of Organization for your LLC with the Business Services Division in Rhode Island.

The filing fee of $50 is payable either by mail via check made payable to the Rhode Island Department of State or in person via cash, credit card, or check at the Business Services Division [4].

To complete the filing form, you must provide your entity's ID number, which you can get via the Corporate Database of the Business Services Division.

You will be required to list the name of your LLC and state the new name you wish to change to once you have filed a name reservation form or confirmed the name availability via the website of the Business Services Division.

To confirm submission and obtain evidence of your filing, you must do the following:

  • Go to the corporate database of the Business Services Division.
  • Enter your entity's name or ID number and click "Search."
  • Click on the link to your entity record, scroll down, select "All Filings," and then "View Filing."
  • Identify the desired type of filing and click on "PDF" under "View PDF" to view and print the record.

What To Do After You Change Your Rhode Island LLC Name?

Submitting a clipboard with important documents about LLC name change in Rhode Island

After you change your Rhode Island LLC name, you will have to do the following:

  • Update your operating agreement: Incorporate the changes in your company's operating agreement to legally complete the process of changing the LLC name.
  • Inform banks and financial institutions: You must contact your bank to see if you need to send new formation documents or open a new LLC bank account.
  • Update licenses and permits: You must contact the relevant authorities to see if you need to update your Rhode Island business licenses and permits or get new ones with the new LLC name. If needed, file corporate forms again.
  • Notify clients and customers: Another important step to complete is to inform your customers of the new name.
  • Inform government agencies: You should inform the relevant state agencies of the new name. You can submit a copy of the Certificate of Amendment along with a name-change letter to update your name in their RI Department of Records.
  • Update contracts and agreements: Once your new name is in use, change every relevant contract and agreement your company holds.

Related articles:

Alternatives to LLC Name Change

In my experience advising Rhode Island businesses, practical alternatives for an LLC name change, such as a DBA (Doing Business As) and a Certificate of Correction, prove advantageous.

DBA

For businesses aiming to operate under a different name for branding or market expansion without altering their legal LLC name, a DBA is excellent.

It's particularly useful for branding and market expansion, although it's crucial to note that a DBA doesn't alter the LLC's legal name.

Certificate of Correction

Conversely, a Certificate of Correction is perfect for fixing minor mistakes in your LLC's formation documents.

For instance, if there's a spelling error in the original formation documents, an LLC can use a Certificate of Correction instead of undergoing the entire name change process.

"Both the DBA and Certificate of Correction have distinct purposes, and their effectiveness depends on the specific requirements of the business."

-Jon Morgan, Co-Editor & Co-Founder of Venture Smarter

In a situation I handled, an LLC swiftly corrected a typo in their legal name using a Certificate of Correction, sidestepping the complexities of a full name change.

Without this option, they could have faced a prolonged, expensive process, potentially disrupting business operations and causing legal discrepancies.

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FAQs

How Much Does It Cost To Change My LLC Name In Rhode Island?

It costs $50 to change your LLC name in Rhode Island, payable by check or in person via cash or credit card.

How Long Can I Reserve My LLC Name in Rhode Island?

You can reserve your LLC name in Rhode Island for up to 120 days, after which, if you fail to register or trademark it, it will become available for use by other businesses


References:

  1. https://www.crowdspring.com/blog/branding-statistics/
  2. https://business.sos.ri.gov/CorpWeb/CorpSearch/CorpSearch.aspx
  3. https://business.sos.ri.gov/corp/FilingForms/0200200.asp?stage=DataInput
  4. https://docs.sos.ri.gov/documents/BusinessServices/401-amendment-to-articles-of-organization.pdf

About The Author

Author
Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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