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Limited Liability Company (LLC) Attorney

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

One potential structure for your business is a Limited Liability Company (LLC). LLCs have gained popularity due to their flexible structure combined with protection of personal assets. Some reasons that a founder might choose an LLC are pass-through tax treatment, fewer requirements to adhere to corporate formalities, and a generally more flexible structure than corporations. Notably, the fact that a business chooses an LLC does not preclude the business from electing to be treated as Subchapter S corporation (commonly known as an "S-corp"), provided certain requirements are met. If you've formed an LLC or are considering one, it's imperative to understand the critical role of an LLC operating agreement and why partnering with an experienced LLC operating agreement attorney is a smart move. While LLCs in most states are not required to have operating agreements, it is often smart to have an operating agreement to mitigate and address risk, clarify the rights of the LLC's members, and provide predictability in the case of certain events so that the members do not have to rely on the state of organization's LLC statute.

Forming the LLC

The first step in forming your LLC is determining the state in which you would like to organize. A few considerations for the state of organization include:
  • Tax Rates: Tax considerations may play a part in where you decide to organize your LLC. It's important to be aware of the distinctions between tax rates of different states.
  • Privacy: States offer varying levels of privacy to the owners of LLCs. Certain states allow the formation of an LLC without entering identities of owners and/or managers into the public record, which can be a valuable benefit to some business owners.
  • Predictability: Some states have a more developed body of case law than others when it comes to their limited liability company act. Many business owners find comfort in organizing in a state where they will have a better ability to predict their rights should they become involved in a dispute that requires determining the rights of the LLC in court.

What Is an LLC Operating Agreement?

An LLC operating agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the internal workings and structure of your LLC, and governs the relationship between its members (and sometimes managers). Think of it as the foundation upon which your LLC stands. While not all states legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement, it's an invaluable tool that provides clarity and protection for business owners. While operating agreements can be used to cover many things, here are some areas a typical operating agreement might cover:
  • Ownership and Management: A proper operating agreement defines the ownership structure, indicating who the members (owners) are and how management responsibilities are distributed.
  • Profit and Loss Allocation: The operating agreement details how profits and losses will be divided among members, offering financial transparency.
  • Decision-Making: The operating agreement addresses how major decisions will be made, including voting rights, quorum requirements, and the process for resolving disputes among the members.
  • Distributions: The operating agreement may specify when and how profits will be distributed to members, ensuring financial stability and predictability.
  • Transfer of Membership Interests" The operating agreement addresses the process for selling or transferring membership interests and sets forth any restrictions on transfer, protecting the LLC's integrity and members' rights.
  • Dissolution and Winding Up: In the event the LLC needs to be dissolved, the agreement provides a structured process for wrapping up affairs and distributing assets.

Why Do You Need an LLC Operating Agreement?

LLCs in most states are not required to have operating agreements, but it's generally advisable. Why might business owners want to have an operating agreement for an LLC?
  • Clarity and Organization: An operating agreement establishes clear guidelines and expectations among members. This helps prevent misunderstandings and conflicts down the road, ensuring a harmonious working relationship.
  • Legal Requirement: In some states, having an LLC operating agreement is mandatory. Failing to create one could result in your LLC being governed by default state laws, which may not align with your preferences.
  • Asset Protection: LLCs are desirable due to their limited liability protection. However, without an operating agreement, this protection could be jeopardized. An operating agreement demonstrates that your LLC is a separate legal entity and is treated as such by its members, protecting your personal assets from business liabilities.
  • Tax Benefits: An operating agreement can direct the members/managers to elect the tax classification that best suits your business, such as partnership or S corporation taxation, potentially leading to tax savings.
  • Dispute Resolution: Unfortunately, disagreements among LLC members are all too common. An operating agreement can be drafted to provide mechanisms for resolving disputes, with the hope that conflicts are resolved without the need for litigation.
  • Customization: Every LLC is unique. Your operating agreement can be tailored to fit the specific needs and goals of your business, ensuring it operates the way you envision.

Why Engage an LLC Attorney?

While it's possible to create an LLC operating agreement on your own, it is generally best to hire an attorney specializing in this field to help you draft your LLC's operating agreement. Here are some benefits an experienced LLC operating agreement attorney can offer:
  • Legal Expertise: An LLC operating agreement attorney possesses in-depth knowledge of business law and can ensure that your agreement in enforceable in court and complies with all relevant regulations and laws.
  • Customization: Your business is unique, and your operating agreement should reflect that. An attorney can craft a document that aligns precisely with your business goals and objectives, and balances the goals of all members of the LLC.
  • Preventing Costly Mistakes: Attempting to draft an operating agreement without legal assistance can lead to costly errors or omissions that may only become apparent when it's too late. An attorney can help you avoid such pitfalls and anticipate risks in advance, so you can move forward with the operation of your LLC with more peace of mind.
  • Asset Protection: Protecting your personal assets is paramount. Indeed, protection for owners from personal liabilities is the main reason that legal entities exist. An attorney can ensure your operating agreement maximizes this protection, safeguarding your financial future.
  • Conflict Resolution: An attorney can help provide the best strategies and mechanisms for your LLC's operating agreement in the event that disputes arise among the members, potentially saving you and your business time, money, and stress.
  • Compliance: Laws and regulations governing LLCs can be complex and vary by jurisdiction. An attorney can ensure your operating agreement complies with local requirements, reducing the risk of future legal complications.
  • Risk Mitigation An experienced attorney can anticipate potential issues and structure your agreement to address them effectively, protecting your LLC's long-term success.
Every LLC is different; the relationships and goals among members and managers, areas of businesses, and challenges vary widely from company to company. It's important that you have an LLC operating agreement that addresses the unique aspects of your LLC. When you choose to work with an LLC operating agreement attorney, you're making an investment in the foundation of your business. Contact our experienced LLC operating agreement attorneys today to start building a strong and secure foundation for your business. Your success and financial security are our top priorities, and we're here to guide you every step of the way. Ready to get started?  Submit a form on our website or give us a call at (720) 740-0889 to schedule an consultation. The foregoing is presented for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. Your best source for information about your matter is to contact an attorney.

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