One of the purposes of a limited liability company is to avoid personal liability for the owners, called "members." If your LLC is involved in a contract dispute or legal action, normally the other party can only go after your business assets, not your personal assets. When signing any contract involving your LLC, it's important to add language to your signature that makes it clear you are representing only the company, not yourself personally.
Who Can Sign
The operating agreement of an LLC usually determines who can sign a contract on behalf of the company. Normally this includes the owners who are listed as members of the LLC, although in some operating agreements only certain members are authorized to sign contracts. Many LLC agreements also allow the members to appoint a manager who can sign contracts and make binding decisions for the company. When a manager is appointed to run the company, the members give up their power to contractually bind the LLC.
When signing contracts or legal documents, LLC owners or managers should include the legal name of the LLC, and their official title according to the charter. This information can be printed directly on the contract as part of the signature block, or the signer can write it in next to the signature. For example, if you are the owner of an LLC you might sign, "Jane Smith, Member, Smith Enterprises LLC."
You should also pay attention to the language of any contract before you sign. The contract should refer to you by your company title, not by your personal name. If the contract does include your personal name, it should include your title, and the language must not imply or expressly state that you signing as an individual.
Avoid signing a document as the "owner" of an LLC. This exposes you to personal liability, since owner is usually not an official title. The title "member" or "managing member" often suffices for owners of single-member LLCs, or for LLCs that allow all members to sign contracts. The terms "manager," "president" or "authorized representative" also can be used, as long as they are in accordance with the company's operating agreement.
Alan Sembera began writing for local newspapers in Texas and Louisiana. His professional career includes stints as a computer tech, information editor and income tax preparer. Sembera now writes full time about business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas A&M University.