What’s in a name? Plenty, if you are a corporation in the state of Maryland. There are corporate laws about how to do it. The state registers that name and regulates both your use of it, and your ability to change it. Corporate lawyers in Southern Maryland have a large local neighbor who has just gone through this process.
If your daily routine requires you to drive past Civista Medical Center in La Plata, Maryland, undoubtedly you’ve noticed the new sign that reads “University of Maryland – Charles Regional Medical Center.” Then, your next thought might have been: “What happened to Civista?” Or, if you’ve lived in Southern Maryland for over 15 years, you may have said to yourself: “Wow, Physician’s Memorial Hospital has really grown!” Nope. It’s the same corporate entity, and they have changed their name again. Changing the name of your corporation is not just a public relations project – it can be a legal challenge for your corporate lawyer. We are corporate lawyers in Waldorf, and can help you with that decision if you are considering it.
La Plata has been the site of more than one tornado as the County historians will tell you. In 1926, a tornado struck La Plata and one of the healing responses to the tornado was the birth of Physician’s Memorial Hospital, which opened its doors in 1939.
As time passed and Southern Maryland continued to grow, the medical needs of the community grew, too. In 1998, Physician’s Memorial Hospital became known as “Civista,” which is a combination of the words “civic” and “vista”. The name “Civista” was chosen to reflect the hospital’s commitment to community service and its strategic planning and future visions.
Then, after a great deal of wooing by the University of Maryland Medical System, in July 2011, Civista Medical Center became officially affiliated with the statewide system.
Flash-forward to summer of 2013, as you drive down Route 6, you’ll notice the new sign pointing you to the “University of Maryland – Charles Regional Medical Center.”
But, changing the name of a business is lot more complicated that just hiring someone to create a new logo for you and erecting a new sign in front of your door or changing the letterhead. First, the business owner must check to see if the desired new name is available within the State of Maryland’s business registry. If it is, Articles of Amendment must be prepared and filed with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation in Baltimore.
On the “Articles of Amendment,” you need to make sure that you specify whether your entity is a Corporation or a Limited Liability Company and you need to provide the old name and the new name, together with any other changes that will be made.
If you are thinking about changing both the name and the type of entity (corporation or LLC), you should talk to a lawyer and an accountant about your reasons for making this changes. It may be a good idea to simply form a new company altogether.
If you have questions about the history of Physician’s Memorial Hospital and its transformation, call the University of Maryland – Charles Regional Medical Center.
But, if you have questions about changing your company’s name or forming a new business altogether, call us! Our attorneys will meet with you to answer questions that you might have and we can prepare and file the necessary documents with the State of Maryland and the IRS to get your business up and running in a couple of days. We have strong relationships with local accounting firms that help guide your tax and other business decisions and we can refer you to someone that will fit your business needs!