When you form an LLC, it is a good practice to have an LLC Operating Agreement. Even if you are on your own, it shows that you are respecting the corporate formalities, it shows professionalism and helps prevent creditors from trying to pierce the corporate veil and get your personal assets. If there is more than one owner, an operating agreement is even more important to establish the rules of the road at the outset. Get your customized operating agreement today.
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The LLC Operating Agreement is the document that sets the ground rules for how the LLC is going to operate. It is similar to a partnership agreement for partnerships or bylaws/shareholder agreements for corporations.
One of the primary reason to form an LLC is to shield the owners from individual liability. To keep that protection, you have to follow the formalities to demonstrate that you really are operating as an LLC and having a proper LLC operating agreement is one way to demonstrate that. If you have more than one member in the LLC, it is also imperative to set forth the ground rules for how you will operate the LLC at the beginning before any disagreements arise.
There is no set rule dictating what must or what cannot be in your LLC operating agreement. Generally speaking the LLC Operating Agreement will cover:
Initial capital contributions of the members
Who gets to vote, how they vote and what percentage of votes are needed to do certain actions
Restrictions on transfer of a member’s share or the addition of a new member
How profits will be distributed
Designation of officers or managers
Without an LLC Operating Agreement, you could lose the personal liability shield that comes with the formation of your LLC. Many states have default rules that will govern your LLC if there is no agreement, but the lack of clear rules at the outset is one of the primary reasons many disputes between owners end up at the courthouse. As lawyers like to say, you can pay a little to establish the rules now or pay a lot more to have the rules established in court.
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