Your operating agreement/operations agreement is one of the first documents your attorney will draft when forming your LLC. Learn more about the common problems in LLC operating agreements and their remedies below.
The vast majority of the time, the problems in operating agreements come down to wording. Language that is vague, irrelevant to your situation, or ambiguous in any way can create real-world problems for your LLC. Here are some common issues, along with examples of phrases to watch out for in your operating agreement.
LLC members must have a procedure for decision making. When an LLC has multiple members, some decisions may be made by majority. While you can specify unanimous consent under certain circumstances, clearly defining what constitutes a “majority” clarifies your agreement. Decide with your fellow members whether you want to define majority as a percentage of ownership or by number of members.
Another common problematic clause is one which states that any member may do business with the LLC absent any restriction. This can create issues if a member abuses this freedom. To avoid potential problems, specify that any member of the LLC must get majority approval before performing any transaction directly with the LLC.
These issues are particularly important for multi-member LLCs. When an LLC is formed, the operating agreement must spell out who the Manager is, how a Manager is selected, and what degree of control they have over the LLC. Unfortunately, clauses that give too much power to a Manager may be abused at the expense of other members or the company. A good document keeps managerial powers in check in the following ways:
Bottom line: any clause that has the potential for abuse of power will catch the attention of a seasoned attorney. Lawyers who do not regularly form LLCs may be aware of the necessary parts of a legally-binding agreement, but are more likely to overlook these nuances. An experienced business attorney or real estate attorney who regularly forms LLCs is your best bet for getting what you want out of your operating agreement.
To learn more, see What Is The Difference Between An Authorized Member And A Manager In An LLC?
Scott Royal Smith is an asset protection attorney and long-time real estate investor. He's on a mission to help fellow investors free their time, protect their assets, and create lasting wealth.
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