LEGAL ENTITY: Meaning, Examples, Form, Types & Identifier

legal entity
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The phrase “legal entity” is one of the most commonly used in the realm of compliance and governance. This word seems to be the epitome of legalese. It is both vague and specific, and it can mean more than one thing or nothing at all. Still, it’s what keeps entity management together. Simply put, there is nothing to manage if there is no legal entity. You should continue reading to learn the meanings of a legal entity, a legal identifier, and its type, example, and form.

A legal entity is a person or group that has legal rights and responsibilities related to contracts, agreements, payments, transactions, obligations, penalties, and lawsuits. The term is capable of describing any kind of group that follows the laws of the country to become official.

A legal entity can be a person, a group, a company, a partnership, or any other type of group that is allowed by the law. In contrast to a natural person, a legal person is a body that is rights and responsibilities. For example, a sole proprietor is a type of legal entity that has the benefit of being cheap and easy to set up but doesn’t protect the owner’s assets. That means that the individual assets can be used to pay off any debt. In corporations, shareholders don’t have as many responsibilities and aren’t as likely to be sued.

Let’s look at some examples of legal entities to help us understand the concept better:

Example #1

Let’s say that Peter Steveson has been running a local clothing store for ten years. So, he must now grow his business in different countries. So, after talking to other people, he and his wife, Melinda, decide to start a business with the family name. He goes to the office of the registrar and registers the business under the name “Steveson Textiles.”

The agreement for incorporation says that he has to keep a separate account for business. Peter will also have different rights and responsibilities for his registered textile business. But if the goods are broken or there is a fraud, Steveson Textiles and his wife will be responsible, not just Peter.

Example #2

Sarah Weller is in her forties and used to work as a housewife. She wants to start a business now that her kids are grown up. She wants to sell home-cooked meals to middle-class workers who want to eat this way but don’t have time to cook or go out to lunch. Sarah needs to hire some help because she has too much work for one person to do. She also needs to find a good place to work and get money to buy the tools and equipment she needs.

Sarah doesn’t like the business’s administrative and legal parts. She only likes cooking and selling products. Aside from that, her husband says it’s right to run the business as a legal entity. As a legal business, you will be able to meet labor requirements and sign contracts with customers and suppliers.

A Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a code that is unique to a legal entity, such as a limited company, fund, trust, or any organization. The LEI code is made up of 20 different letters and numbers. This code lets each entity be found in a global database of entities that can be searched by number instead of a name, since many entities may have names that sound alike or are the same. The LEI is an ISO standard, and it is now mandatory for many companies in the global financial system to use it.

  • The LEI is a way to identify market participants on a single, standardized database. This provides factual data on a company that is easily available and absolutely free to use.
  • A company’s LEI record will include public information such as its name, address, registration location, and if it is a branch or controlled by a “parent” company.
  • Over 2 million LEIs have been made around the world so far, and it is quickly becoming a standard for business transactions everywhere.

Purpose of the Global LEI System (GLEIS)

Before, it was hard to find out about someone if they didn’t have a digital presence. During the world financial crisis a decade ago, this became a problem.

Due to the lack of transparency, a huge number of entities and funds were hard to track down, making financial institutions vulnerable. This also presented challenges in terms of risk assessment and transparency.

In 2011, the G20 started the LEI system to make sure that this wouldn’t happen again. The plan was to make a digital database of all legal entities that was easy to use, accurate, and up-to-date. One central source of information with a lot of high-quality data that is easy to get. You can use the LEI Search Tool to get free access to this database.

After the G20 came up with the idea for the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) Code, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) chose a new group to make sure it was carried out. The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation is the name of this group (GLEIF).

GLEIF’s job is to accredit and keep an eye on financial institutions that can give out Legal Entity Identifiers. These institutions are the only ones that can give out LEIs. They are called local operating units (LOUs).

LOUs can distribute LEIs themselves or cooperate with registration agencies like LEI Worldwide, who make it easier for legal entities to receive LEI codes. This makes it easy to get an LEI and helps service providers compete in a healthy way.

Benefits of Getting an LEI

If you have an LEI number or an LEI certificate, you will be more known and trusted internationally and in business. But investors, customers, and other people who have an interest in your business can find your important LEI data in real time. In the same way, you can feel safer when you know exactly who you are dealing with. ​

With an LEI, your business can make sure it is following the 184 international rules that require the use of a legal entity identifier around the world. The LEI can make it easier for financial institutions to sign up new clients. Some are becoming LEI Validation Agents to quickly issue LEIs to new clients. If your company has an International Securities Identification Number (ISIN), you can now use a process called “LEI to ISIN Mapping” to link your LEI and ISIN codes.

They are the different ways that a corporation can be set up. Legal entity type includes S corporations, C corporations, limited liability companies, sole proprietorships, trusts, nonprofits, and so on.

In the U.S., there are about 15 types of legal business entities that need different types of legal entity documents. But if you want to choose a legal structure, the most common ones are:

#1. Corporations

In the United States, C-corporations are the most popular type of corporation. C-corporations protect their owners from liability, so their assets are not at risk. The bad things about corporations are that there are more rules and taxes are higher.

#2. Partnerships

Partnerships are a simple method for business owners to share the obligations and earnings of a business. A good partnership agreement spells out how the partners will work together right from the start.

#3. Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that is owned by one person who makes all of the business decisions and takes all of the risks.

#4. Non-profit Organizations and Charities

Non-profit organizations and charities are groups that serve a purpose, whether it’s to teach or help people with their faith. They don’t make money.

Limited Liability Companies

 LLCs are a bit of a mix between general partnerships and corporations. LLCs offer limited liability protections like corporations, but they don’t have to pay taxes twice.

The Entity Legal Form (ELF) Code List is based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 20275, “Financial Services – Entity Legal Forms (ELF) . In July 2017, the standard came out. ISO says that it “specifies the elements of a clear scheme for identifying the different legal forms of entities in a jurisdiction.” Its goal is to make it possible to codify legal forms in different jurisdictions and make it easier to sort legal entities by their legal form. The ISO standard says that “entity legal form” means “the type of entity that an organization is considered to be under the legal or regulatory system under which it was formed.”

ISO says that knowing the legal form of an entity is an important part of financial services transactions. When starting a business relationship, it is important to know what kind of entity you are dealing with. financial transactions require knowledge of parties and organizational structures.s. Standardizing the legal or organizational structure will make it easier to change things and give people a better idea of how exposed they are to risk and how to get money.

“Regulators and market participants have agreed that it’s important to be able to identify legal forms of entities both nationally and consistently across global markets. They have asked that a standard be made to meet this need.” ISO standard 20275 makes it possible to identify legal forms of entities in a structured way. This makes it possible, among other things, to classify entities based on the nature of their legal constitution.

A business or organization is a legal entity if it has legal rights and responsibilities, such as having to file tax returns. A corporation is a legal body with the capacity to assert legal rights in court and to enter into contracts as a seller or a supplier.

The name under which your company operates legally is referred to as its ENTITY NAME. As an illustration, have a look at Acme Corporation or Wayne Enterprises, Inc. Contracts are typically signed in this manner. It is the “person” in the eyes of the law who is responsible for your actions, and it is also the entity that owns your bank accounts and other assets.

A person or organization with its own legal rights, like a person, a partnership, or a corporation, is an “entity.” Among other things, an entity can own property, run a business, sign contracts, pay taxes, assert legal rights

The Legal Entity Identification (LEI) is a reference code that is utilized across markets and jurisdictions to unmistakably identify a legally separate entity that participates in a financial transaction. This code is similar to a bar code in appearance.

a person or entity that is legally capable of entering into contracts and taking part in legal proceedings. After setting up a joint-stock company, it becomes a separate legal entity that is separate from its shareholders and can sign binding contracts with both its customers and its suppliers.

A company name and a business name are not the same things, despite the fact that some people may be under the impression that they are. The main difference between a business name and a corporation name is that a business name is used for operations. Yet, a corporate name is a legal entity.

A corporation, also called a “C corp,” is a legal entity that is separate from its owners. Corporations can make money and pay taxes, and they can be legally liable for what they do. Corporations protect their owners from personal liability the most, but setting up a corporation costs more than setting up other types of structures.


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