The Meeting Minutes document is not only crucial for companies of all sizes, but it's also a legal requirement for corporations incorporated in all states. Even in an informal meeting, taking note of everything happening in a meeting can be immensely useful.
For a corporation, the Meeting Minutes are an invaluable tool that will ensure the company runs smoothly. Even though, in theory, this document is relatively simple, knowing how to keep good Meeting Minutes can be a skill in its own right.
The best way to look at the Meeting Minutes is as a more formal term for notes. These notes do require a specific format, however. It's imperative not to leave out any crucial information for the document to be valid.
That's why this task is usually assigned to the company's secretary. They will pay extra attention to details at the meeting and write down all the relevant information during and after the meeting. It's also their job to distribute the document when it's available.
Depending on your state, a Meeting Minutes may also be known as:
Minutes of the Meeting
Corporations are required by law to take Meeting Minutes for safekeeping in the minute book. It's for all formal and board meetings. There are no clear rules about what the document has to contain or the exact format. LLCs are not required to record Meeting Minutes, but they can choose to do so if they think it might be beneficial.
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When writing down everything that happens in a formal meeting, you want to make sure to capture everything. Having an outline right in front of you will make the process easier and ultimately faster.
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To create your document, please provide:
Company details: Legal name of the company, the state where it was established, and the official address
Date and location: Date and location of the meeting
Body: Shareholders and directors
Attendees: List of people present at the meeting
Absentees: List of people not present at the meeting but properly notified
Chairperson: Name of the person chairing the meeting
Method of notice: How the attendees and absentees were invited to a meeting
Start time: The time when the meeting started
End time: The time when the meeting ended
Signature: The secretary's signature
LLC: Limited liability company
Corporation: A company structure authorized by the state to act as a separate entity
Agenda: A list of topics and activities set to take place in a meeting
Annual Meeting: A meeting where the shareholders meet once a year
Shareholder: A person who owns shares in a company
Board of Directors: A group of people that act on behalf of a corporation's shareholders
Chairperson: The leader of the board of directors presiding over the meeting
Secretary: A person in a senior position in a company with a wide range of duties
The most important step before signing the Meeting Minutes document is to review it carefully. Because the company's secretary ensures that the document is flawless, they should also make sure it contains everything that happened in the meeting. With that done satisfactorily, the secretary will sign the document. There's no need for anyone else's signature. It's also unnecessary to notarize the Meeting Minutes, but you can choose to do so regardless.
After the company's secretary signs the Meeting Minutes, they're in charge of distributing it. Hard copies can be kept on file and shared with the chairperson of the board. Also, a digital copy should be available in some form. Having the Meeting Minutes readily available is essential if there's ever a need to show evidence that the meeting took place to a third-party such as a bank.
Some corporations choose to keep the record of their Meeting Minutes on their websites. That's particularly true of non-profit and charity organizations.
As a rule, the Meeting Minutes should be written in the past tense because you're describing events that happened in the past. The only exception is if you’re writing down notes about future plans and meetings. However, even if you choose to use the present tense for the Meeting Minutes, it’s important not to mix tenses to avoid confusion.
The two most important aspects of well-written Meeting Minutes are brevity and clarity. This is particularly the case when there’s a lot that you need to put down. Meeting Minutes ought to be easy to read. They should also always be objective and free of any personal observations. Also, if there's a need to reference other documents, it's best not to summarize them but point to where they can be found.
It will depend on the type of corporation and its resources. If there's a cloud-based storage account that you can use, that's always an option. But other online sharing and collaborative tools can also be used. Alternatively, sending a copy of Meeting Minutes to everyone via email is an acceptable practice.
As opposed to the time unit, the origin of the word is believed to be linked to the Latin “minuta scriptura," which translates to "rough notes" or "small writing."
It may seem like taking regular Meeting Minutes is tedious and time-consuming work. When in fact it’s designed to help the management to govern the corporation and also to save money. Maintaining the Meeting Minutes for all of a corporation’s formal meetings also means that everyone would know exactly what was decided without losing any important details.
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