Neil Patel

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What is the format for a partnership agreement? Starting a business with partners comes with its own set of challenges. Especially related to how all of you will share the benefits and responsibilities of your partnership.

The same can be true of entering into serious joint ventures and partnerships between companies, or individuals and companies. They can be powerful for accelerating success. Or a minefield of headaches without an agreement.

If you want to make sure you and your business partners continue to have an enjoyable and successful working business relationship then you must have a written partnership agreement in place.

No matter how much you trust your business partners, there is almost always a possibility that things may go south and your partnership may not work. Therefore it is essential to have a legally binding agreement that covers each key aspect of the business and the relationship between partners.

So if you are trying to create a partnership business structure for your startup, then it is essential to know the format for a partnership agreement. Unless you know what goes into a partnership agreement you might end up at a disadvantage as far as business profits, control, and other benefits are concerned. In order to help anyone looking to create or understand a partnership agreement, we have created this helpful article and suggest you keep reading.

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    What is a partnership agreement?

    A partnership is a type of business arrangement in which two or more persons work together, and agree to split the workload, profits, and sometimes the losses. A partnership agreement, on the other hand, is a legally binding agreement that outlines the parameters of a business partnership. Partnership agreements provide clear expectations for the partners engaged in terms of how the company will be managed.

    A general partnership is a business founded by two or more general partners for profit. Each partner has equal responsibility for the company’s debts and responsibilities, as well as the acts of the other partners. A partner doesn’t have to be an individual person, a corporation or an organization may also be a partner in a business. The legal status of a partner must be specified since it has tax consequences.

    Limited, general, and limited liability partnerships are the three main types of partnerships. Each structure has a particular impact on your management, investment opportunities, liability, and taxes. You should analyze these and talk to your legal counsel, advisors, and accountants about your preferred structure before you choose one, and concrete it in a written agreement.

    Keep in mind that in building partnerships or fundraising, storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

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    Why should you have a partnership agreement in place?

    The Revised Uniform Partnership Act has been adopted by 37 states in the US, and the original was adopted by every state except LA, since 1914. It classifies partnerships as a separate entity to individuals.

    However, the standard partnership agreement may include requirements that aren’t applicable to your partnership or company.

    You can take control of the contents of the agreement and tailor the relevant clauses to your company’s needs by developing your own agreement. At the end of the day, the goal of a partnership agreement is to serve as a precaution to guarantee that any and all disputes are settled easily and impartially. Or to avoid them altogether. It also helps everyone in knowing what to do if the partners decide to end their working relationship or business altogether.

    Although it is legal to run a business without a formal Partnership Agreement, your company will be subject to the ordinary partnership laws in your state if you don’t have an agreement in place.

    A Business Partnership Agreement is helpful because it highlights the rights and responsibilities of each partner. Also, it lets the partners amend the contents so that it fits their partnership better. Put simply, a partnership agreement is essential if you want to make sure that your partnership keeps working smoothly while minimizing the chances of disagreements.

    What Act governs partnership agreements?

    In certain U.S. states, the Uniform Partnership Act (UPA) governs business partnerships. The Uniform Partnership Act has been amended multiple times throughout the years (UPA). The Updated Uniform Partnership Statute is the name given to the revised act and its changes (RUPA). Additionally, the UPA regulates how a partnership may be dissolved in the event that one of its members decides to go their own ways.

    The Uniform Partnership Act covers how a partnership is formed, the partnership’s and its participants’ fiduciary obligations, and the assets and liabilities of the partnership. The Uniform Partnership Act’s purpose is to give guidelines for various business partnerships.

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    What is the format for a partnership agreement?

    What is included in a partnership agreement?

    As we have mentioned in the previous sections, the format for a partnership agreement may need to be modified to fit a certain partnership. With that said a partnership agreement should still cover some essential points that are usually a part of most partnership agreements.

    Here is a list of the key components and sections of a partnership agreement::

    Name of the partnership

    To begin the process of developing a format for a partnership agreement, one of the first things you will need to do is think of a name for your partnership. You can register a fictional company name, or the partners may use their last names as the name of the partnership. If you want to utilize a fictitious name, check to see if it’s already in use or not to avoid committing trademark infringement unintentionally.

    Location of the partnership

    When creating the format for a partnership agreement, you must provide the partnership’s address, city, state, and ZIP code. The address is generally where your company’s main office or headquarters are located. If your company doesn’t have a physical location, you may use one of the partners’ addresses.

    Specify the duration or term of the partnership

    If already decided, provide the start and end dates of the partnership. You can terminate the partnership at any time or when the partners agree to dissolve it.

    Specify each partner’s capital contribution

    The amount of time, money, or assets each partner contributes to the firm or partnership is referred to as capital contributions. Therefore, it is essential to mention the monetary amount of each contribution in your Partnership Agreement when creating one. Capital inputs might take the shape of money, equipment, time and effort, or something else.

    Allocation of profits and losses among partners

    This is one of the most important sections of a partnership agreement. You and your business partners will need to determine how the profits, and losses, will be distributed. Partners may come to an agreement over how they will split the earnings and losses based on their percentage of ownership in the business, or they can decide to divide them equally among themselves regardless of their ownership interest.

    Authority of partners

    The agreement should contain the partner’s authority. This is often known as binding power. This binding power gives a partner (or partners) the right to tie the company to a debt or a contractual commitment. Therefore, this might expose the company to undue risks, the agreement should openly express which partners have binding authority, and for what purposes.

    The decision-making power of partners

    The format for a partnership agreement will need to include what a major or small decision is. Before you and your partners have to make significant choices, you should carefully consider who has what amount of decision-making authority. Although there is no secret formula or language for making choices among partners, trying to figure it out ahead of time can save you a lot of headaches. For every company decision, you might want to require a unanimous vote of all partners. If you don’t want to be bound by that, you may need a unanimous vote for large choices yet enable individual partners to make smaller decisions independently.

    Withdrawal or death of a partner

    The dissolution of the partnership due to the death or resignation of a partner is an event that must be addressed in the agreement. Additionally, the process for the value of the company should be spelled out in the agreement, as well as any conditions for keeping a life insurance policy with the other partners listed as beneficiaries.

    Decide the managerial duties of partners

    You don’t have to develop strict regulations for every aspect of management, but you should establish certain principles ahead of time. When determining the management responsibilities of partners, duties such as accountancy, engaging with clients, and overseeing, other similar activities should be considered. Consider your partnership’s management needs and make sure you’ve covered everything.

    Managing disputes

    Disputes are not uncommon among partners, and a partnership agreement specifies the methods for managing disputes among partners (apart from the obvious legal settlements). Ideally, there should be at least some method specified in the agreement that would be applied before partners need to go to court.

    Adding new partners

    As a company expands, it might be possible to bring on additional partners. However, the original partners may agree to give a lesser share of ownership to the new partner(s), as well as reduced voting rights that allow the new partner to have a less significant voice in business decisions.

    Figuring out the structure of your business and drawing up the necessary documentation are only some of the facets of how to launch a business. For more information about the different aspects of setting up a new startup, check out this video I have created.

    Who can create a partnership agreement?

    The company initiating the partnership usually writes the agreement. It functions similarly to a corporation’s articles of incorporation which is why it outlines how the company will operate. The agreement is often drafted by the company’s in-house legal counsel. Before agreeing to it and signing it, other partners might make contributions and negotiate its clauses.

    You can find plenty of templates to help you understand the format for a partnership agreement online, however, each template is going to contain some standard clauses while ignoring other clauses at the same time. So it is essential that each partner consults a lawyer when a partnership agreement is being drafted to make sure the agreement protects the rights of each and every member.

    Can a partnership agreement be modified once it is created?

    Sure, it’s possible to modify an agreement after it has been created and signed by all the partners involved. The process of modifying the agreement can only be initiated when all the partners agree to the changes that are going to be made to the agreement.

    It is not uncommon for partners to find flaws or deficiencies in the agreement and feel the need to update the agreement. Again the modification may be simple or complex, so getting your partnership agreement modified under the supervision of an attorney can make sure the updated version of the agreement doesn’t give undue advantage to a single partner.

    What are some pros and cons of forming a partnership?

    A general partnership has numerous benefits and downsides. So while choosing a partnership might be ideal for some business applications it might not work for others. With that said, here are some pros and cons of forming a partnership.

    Pros

    • Simple to set up
    • Makes taxes easier
    • Simple to disintegrate

    Cons

    • May not be scalable like other entities
    • May create obligations that you don’t foresee the impact of yet

    Conclusion

    So there you have it. The format for a partnership agreement doesn’t sound as complicated once you have gone through some key parts of the agreement and know how you can easily draft one using available formats and templates. With that said, since a partnership agreement is legally binding it is best to involve a legal expert on your behalf if you aren’t sure if you understand the terms used in a partnership agreement.

    You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.

     

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    Neil Patel

    I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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