As a limited liability company member, you usually have the right to assign your membership interest in the LLC to a nonmember, subject to the requirements of state LLC law. Typically, the assignment provides the nonmember with the right to receive your share of any LLC profits but does not give the nonmember any of your management rights. The remaining LLC members usually decide whether the nonmember is admitted as a member with management rights.
An assignment involving your LLC membership occurs whenever there is a transfer of your property rights in the membership. The transfer of rights can occur voluntarily such as in a sale of your membership to cash out of the LLC. Another type of voluntary transfer involves using your membership to satisfy your personal debts in lieu of bankruptcy, generally referred to as an assignment for the benefit of creditors. A transfer of your membership to your legal heirs or designated beneficiaries occurs by operation of law upon your death. In each situation, the assignment results in a complete transfer of your property rights in your LLC membership.
LLC Membership Interest
An LLC is commonly considered a cross between a corporation and partnership. LLC members enjoy personal liability protection, as do a corporation's shareholders, and the ability to structure the LLC management to suit their own needs, as in a partnership. An LLC is also like a partnership in that the profits and losses of the LLC are passed through to each member just as in a partnership. As a result, your LLC membership consists of two parts: an economic interest -- the right to share in the profits and losses of the LLC; and a control interest -- the right to vote on and manage the affairs of the LLC.
Membership Transfer Rules
If a member assigns his LLC membership to a nonmember without the consent of the other members, state law typically limits the assignment to only economic rights, not control rights. For example, Arizona Revised Statute 29-732 states that “the assignment of an interest in a limited liability company does not…entitle the assignee to participate in the management of the business and affairs of the limited liability company or to become or to exercise the rights of a member.” The Revised Uniform Limited Liability Act, which has been adopted in nine states as of June 2013, contains a similar provision that states, "the transferor retains the rights of a member other than the interest in distributions transferred and retains all duties and obligations of a member." To acquire control rights, the LLC members must consent to extend full membership to the nonmember.
LLC members usually create an operating agreement to govern their rights and duties to the LLC and each other. Unless specifically prohibited by state law, the members can agree to provisions in the operating agreement that alter the default rules that apply under state law. In anticipation of future assignments, the members can include in an operating agreement the rules for whether control rights can be assigned with economic rights and under what conditions.
- FindLaw: Legal Dictionary -- Assignment
- Texas Secretary of State: Selecting A Business Structure
- The Free Dictionary: Limited Liability Company
- Arizona Legislature: Arizona Revised Statute 29-732
- National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws: Revised Uniform Limited Liability Act
- National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws: Enactment Status Map -- RULLCA
Joe Stone is a freelance writer in California who has been writing professionally since 2005. His articles have been published on LIVESTRONG.COM, SFgate.com and Chron.com. He also has experience in background investigations and spent almost two decades in legal practice. Stone received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.