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What are Articles of Partnership?

Articles of partnership form a critical foundational element for successful business relationships, functioning as a comprehensive agreement among partners to pool resources, both in terms of labor and capital. This fundamental contract aims to lay the groundwork for profit-sharing, loss-absorption, and liability distribution. Also known as a partnership agreement in territories outside North America, these articles provide a clear road map for limited partnerships, establishing an all-encompassing framework for collaboration.

Entering into a partnership agreement is typically a voluntary act. There is no legal obligation enforced by regulatory bodies mandating such agreements. However, drafting and adhering to a well-structured articles of partnership is seen as a best practice in the business world. Such a practice provides a robust platform for preventing disputes, or resolving them if they arise. It achieves this by detailing the partnership's terms and establishing guidelines for asset distribution within the partnership.

A crucial aspect of these articles is the allocation of responsibilities among partners. However, the articles don't necessarily need to assign every conceivable task. Instead, they should focus on assigning key roles and responsibilities. For instance, determining who is in charge of managing income, expenses, and inventory should be a central consideration. The articles should also specify decision-making hierarchies and permissions, including clauses that address potential issues such as whether partners can engage with other companies outside of the partnership or whether non-compete agreements should be activated if a partner exits the business.

Articles of Partnership serve to clarify the nature of the agreement partners have entered into. This often includes detailing the types of partnerships in existence, namely Limited Liability Partnerships, General Partnerships, and in some cases, S Corporations (which typically file articles of incorporation instead).

General Partners, as the name suggests, bear full liability for the business's debts. In contrast, Limited Partners are liable only up to the extent of their original investment. These limited partners could be silent partners or angel investors. It's essential that these distinctions, agreements, and contingency plans are laid out in writing before business operations commence or as early as possible.

Further, it's crucial to incorporate buy-sell arrangements and exit strategies within the articles of partnership. The extent of each partner's liability and participation in profits should be clearly detailed. It is also essential to outline the power distribution when it comes to voting and decision-making, along with providing an overview of the accounting methods that will be employed.

Even though most states do not require the submission of these articles to the Secretary of State, they carry legal weight if signed by all partners. Thus, they serve as a solid contract, underpinning the partnership and helping navigate the shared business journey smoothly. In essence, well-structured articles of partnership formalize the business relationship, cement the shared vision, and protect the interests of all partners involved.


Articles of Partnership lay out the nature of the agreement entered into by partners in business entity.

Also called a ‘partnership agreement,’ articles of partnership plainly describe the nature of the partnership, which partners are General Partners and which are Limited Partners, and other important details. Partnerships can take the form of Limited Liability Partnerships, General Partnerships, and even S Corporations (but those file articles of incorporation instead).

General Partners are fully liable for the debts of the business, while limited partners are only liable to the extent of their original invested amount. Limited partners might be silent partners or angel investors. It is important to have a agreements and contingency plans in writing before conducting any business, or at least early on.

Buy-sell arrangements and exit strategies may be laid out. The extent of each partner’s liability and participation in profits should be detailed as well. Voting and decision-making power should be outlined, along with an idea of the accounting methods to be used.

The document does not have to be submitted to the Secretary of State in most states but it can serve as a legal document if signed by all partners.

What is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?
What is a Partnership?
What are Articles of Incorporation?

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