What is a corporation?

The history of “corporations” is a long and colourful story.

Perhaps the most interesting and unique trait of a corporation amongst the different forms of carrying on business is that a corporation is a separate and distinct legal entity from its “owners”.

This means a corporation can own property, have debts and debtors and carry on business as a separate legal entity. A corporation can, of course, carry on business separate and apart from its owners.  In fact, in law, a corporation is considered a “person”. This is not to be confused with an “individual”, i.e. a human individual or personhood, but to convey that a corporation has almost all of the same legal characteristics as legal persons.

Two very important characteristics of corporations follow from the fact that a corporation is a separate and  distinct legal entity. 1) Corporations may sue or be sued in their own name and 2) Corporations enjoy perpetual existence.

Unlike other forms of carrying on business, a shareholders’ liability is limited only to the value of the assets the shareholder has transferred to the corporation.