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Corporate Matters: Partnerships

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In previous issues, we discussed limited liability companies and the various benefits of using such entities, including pass-through taxation, asset protection, ease of formation and flexibility. There are partnerships that can be used to achieve the same results that may be of particular interest to individuals from jurisdictions where the limited liability company is not recognized to the same extent as it is in the United States. These are “Limited Partnerships,” “Limited Liability Partnerships” and “Limited Liability Limited Partnerships.” We thought it may be helpful to outline the differences between these three types of partnerships. Research should be conducted on a state-by-state basis depending on the jurisdiction one is interested in – the following discussion focusses on Delaware.


A Limited Partnership is a partnership where one or more of the owners are general partners and one or more of the owners are limited partners. The general partners have unlimited liability and are liable for all of the partnership’s debts and obligations. The limited partners have limited liability – limited to the amount of capital they have invested in the partnership. General partners control the partnership and are responsible for its operation. Limited partners have no say in the operation of the partnership and are subject to losing liability protection if they are found to be participating in the management of the partnership. The Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act (“DRLPA”) provides that “a limited partner is not liable for the obligations of a limited partnership unless he or she is also a general partner or, in addition to the exercise of the rights and power of a limited partner, he or she participates in the control of the business.”


A Limited Liability Partnership is a general partnership for which an election has been made to obtain limited liability for all of the general partners. Unlike a Limited Partnership, in a Limited Liability Partnership there are no limited partners and all partners can participate in the management of the partnership. As a general rule, the partners of a Delaware general partnership are liable for all of the obligations of the partnership.