This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol8 Partnership, Private Corporations, Public Corporations", by Albert H. Putney. Also available from Amazon: Popular Law-Dictionary.
The following powers are held to necessarily belong to every corporation: (1) To have perpetual succession; (2) to sue or be sued, to receive and grant property by its corporate name; (3) to purchase and hold lands; (4) to have a common seal; (5) to make by-laws for its government. 'These five powers are inseparably incident to every corporation, at least to every corporation aggregate; for two of them though they may be practices, yet are very unnecessary to a corporation sole, viz.: to have a corporate seal, to testify his sole assent and to make statutes for the regulation of his own conduct." 1
The necessity of a distinctive corporate name is thus discussed by Blackstone:2 "When a corporation is erected a name must be given to it, and by that name alone it must sue and be sued, and do all legal acts, though a very minute variation therein is not material. Such name is the very being of its constitution, and though it is the will of the King that erects the corporation, yet the name is the knot of its combination, without which it could not perform its corporate functions." "The name of incorporation," says Sir Edward Coke, "is a proper name or name of baptism and therefore, when a private founder gives his college or hospital a name, he does it only as a godfather, and by that same name the King baptizes the incorporation." Some of the reasoning and illustrations in the above quotation sound strange and out of date at the present day, but the necessity for the name to every corporation is as great as ever.
1 1 Blackstone's Com. 476.
2 1 Blackstone's Com., 474.
The right of perpetual succession may be abridged by statutory provisions, or provisions in charters, limiting the life of a corporation to a certain specified period.