A corporate charter, also known as articles of incorporation or a corporate constitution, is a legal document that establishes and outlines the existence, purpose, structure, and governing rules of a corporation. This document is filed with the appropriate government authority, usually the state in which the corporation is incorporated, to officially create the corporation as a legal entity.

The corporate charter typically includes the following key elements:

1. **Corporate Name:** The legal name of the corporation must be stated in the charter. The name must be unique and comply with the naming regulations of the incorporating state.

2. **Registered Agent:** The charter identifies the registered agent and registered office of the corporation. The registered agent is the individual or entity designated to receive legal notices and official documents on behalf of the corporation.

3. **Purpose of the Corporation:** The charter outlines the general purpose or objectives for which the corporation is formed. This can be a broad statement allowing for various business activities.

4. **Duration:** The charter specifies whether the corporation is formed for a specific duration or whether it is perpetual. Most corporations are formed with perpetual existence unless otherwise specified.

5. **Authorized Capital Stock:** The charter specifies the number of authorized shares of stock that the corporation is allowed to issue. It may also classify shares into different types, such as common stock and preferred stock.

6. **Classes of Stock:** If applicable, the charter may define different classes or series of stock, each with its own rights and preferences. This includes details such as voting rights, dividends, and liquidation preferences.

7. **Board of Directors:** The charter outlines the structure of the board of directors, including the number of directors and their powers and duties. It may also include provisions for the election and removal of directors.

8. **Officers:** The charter may specify the officers of the corporation, such as the president, secretary, and treasurer. It often outlines their roles and responsibilities.

9. **Corporate Bylaws:** While not part of the charter, per se, the charter may reference the corporation’s bylaws. Bylaws are internal rules and procedures governing the corporation’s day-to-day operations and management.

10. **Amendment Procedures:** The charter typically includes provisions for amending its contents. This may require a vote by shareholders and compliance with legal requirements.

Once the corporate charter is drafted and approved, it is filed with the appropriate state authority, usually the Secretary of State’s office. After approval, the corporation officially comes into existence, and it is granted the legal rights and responsibilities outlined in the charter. It’s important for corporations to comply with the regulations set forth in their charters and to make any necessary amendments as the company evolves over time.