Michigan LLC Operating Agreement

With its advantages of limited liability, flexibility, and ease of setup, a Michigan LLC can be an ideal business structure for entrepreneurs. To register your business, you’ll need the Articles of Organization. However, a lesser-known but equally important document is the Operating Agreement. Let’s talk about this document and why your business should have one.

What Is An LLC Operating Agreement?

This document outlines the rules and regulations of an LLC. It’s a crucial document for any Michigan LLC that ensures all parties involved understand their roles and obligations. 

It typically includes

  • The rights and responsibilities of members,
  • How profits & losses are allocated, 
  • Rules for adding and removing members.

It’s also an important tool for protecting the LLC from unnecessary legal issues. It does so by creating a legal agreement between members that cannot be easily broken.

Does Michigan require all LLCs to have an Operating Agreement?

No, the State of Michigan does not require LLCs to have this document. However, we recommend creating one since it can help protect your LLC. While it’s an internal document, it can save you a lot of headaches from internal disputes with your business partners. Plus, it can show potential investors that your business is well-organized and prepared.

What Are The Advantages Of An Operating Agreement In Michigan?

These are five key advantages of an LLC operating agreement in Michigan:

Protect your LLC from Michigan’s default rules

Most states don’t require an Operating Agreement. Without one, your LLC will be governed by the state’s default rules. An Operating Agreement helps protect you from those defaults and lets you customize how your business operates.

Default rules do protect businesses from some risks, but having an Operating Agreement gives you the flexibility to create rules that are tailored to your LLC.

Discuss member roles and responsibilities

A Michigan LLC Operating Agreement outlines the rights and duties of each member. It clarifies expectations for members, helping to ensure smooth operations and dispute prevention. When you set out these roles in advance with an agreement, you reduce misunderstandings and provide a framework for resolving conflicts.

Tailor profit and loss distribution to your business needs

Your Operating Agreement can also help set up your  LLC’s financial structure. You can specify how profits and losses will be distributed among members, which is particularly useful for multi-member LLCs. This helps ensure everyone gets their fair share while also allowing you to adjust based on capital contributions or other factors.

Lay out clear processes for membership changes

An Operating Agreement outlines the process for adding or removing members. It also details how voting will work and other rules of governance. This helps ensure that all changes are done properly and with transparency.

Boost credibility with lenders and partners

Lastly, having an Operating Agreement shows potential lenders and partners that you’re serious about running a successful business. It demonstrates that your LLC is well-structured and in compliance with the law. This may encourage more people to do business with you, or allow you access to better financing options.

Create a customized operating
agreement now!

  • Digital signatures
  • Agreement amendments
  • Multiple versions
Create free agreement

What Are The Limitations Of An Operating Agreement In Michigan?

While an Operating Agreement brings about many benefits, it still has its limitations, such as:

Cannot contradict state law

Your Michigan LLC Operating Agreement is still subject to state law. It cannot be used to contradict any existing law in Michigan. Plus, it must follow all other requirements set out by the state.

Doesn’t protect against legal disputes

Another limitation is that an Operating Agreement cannot protect your Michigan LLC from legal disputes. It is important to have proper insurance and other legal documents in place to protect you from any issues that may arise. 

Remember, this is only an internal document, not a public record. This means it may not be used to establish legal rights in court.

Has the potential for over-complexity

You should also note that the document can become overly complex if you are not careful. If it is too complicated, it may be harder to understand and enforce. Make sure to keep your agreement simple and clear so that all members of the LLC can easily follow it.

No direct enforcement by the state

Finally, the Michigan LLC Operating Agreement does not have any direct enforcement by the state. It is up to each member of the LLC to follow and abide by its terms. That being said, if a dispute arises, you can take legal action in court if necessary.

What Should You Include In An LLC Operating Agreement?

An LLC Operating Agreement must be comprehensive enough to cover all aspects of running the business. It should include:

Member details and contributions

Make sure you have each member’s name, address, and contribution to the LLC. This information is useful when creating the rest of the agreement’s sections.

Ownership and voting percentages

Capital contributions can determine ownership share and voting percentage. It controls how you make decisions for your LLC. For instance, you can stipulate that a certain percentage of members must agree on any major decisions. This way, you can avoid any unilateral decision-making.

Management structure

You’ll also want to define how your LLC manages its affairs. Will it be managed by the members, or will you hire a manager? This section should explain what roles and responsibilities each member has in running the business.

Dispute resolution protocols

You can set up rules for how to resolve any disagreements or disputes between members. This could be through mediation, arbitration, or an outside third party. Regardless, it’s wise to have a plan in place for handling any issues that may arise.

How To Form An Operating Agreement

If you’re ready to create an Operating Agreement for your Michigan LLC, here are the steps to follow:

Identify your LLC’s management structure

Know how you want to manage your LLC. As mentioned, you can opt for member-managed or manager-managed. Laying it out clearly can give your business direction, especially with the nitty-gritty of daily operations.

Define member roles and duties

Next, you should make sure to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each LLC member. This entails outlining each individual’s duties, which can range from financial contributions to decision-making authority.

Determine financial matters

Finances are another aspect to consider when creating your LLC Operating Agreement. At the very least, you’ll need to outline how profits and losses will be shared among members. You can also decide which expenses each member is responsible for paying.

Review the document

Once you’ve crafted your LLC Operating Agreement, don’t forget to review it thoroughly. If possible, consult a lawyer to make sure all the provisions are legally sound and accurate.

Finalize and sign the agreement

The last step is that all members should sign the document and keep a copy for their records. Doing so ensures that everyone knows their responsibilities to the company.

Why is an operating agreement needed?

Enforceable in Court

The terms outlined in a written LLC operating agreement is usually enforceable in a court of Law.

Opening Bank account

Certain financial institutions require you to produce an operating agreement to verify whether you have “signing power” for the LLC.

Avoid disputes

If the terms of compensation, roles, and responsibilities are mentioned in the operating agreement, it avoids disputes among LLC members in the future.

Preserve limited liability status

Especially if you are a single-member LLC, having an operating agreement helps ensure your liability status is upheld in court.

Create a customized operating
agreement now!

  • Digital signatures
  • Agreement amendments
  • Multiple versions
Create free agreement

How Much Is A Michigan LLC Operating Agreement?

First, a Michigan LLC Operating Agreement can cost you time to draft. This document should be tailored to your company’s needs, so you should sit down and consider what you’ll need in the agreement. 

In terms of money, you can find free templates online. However, these documents may not address your LLC’s unique needs. 

Hiring an attorney is the most reliable way to get a precise Michigan LLC Operating Agreement. Attorneys will typically charge between $500 to $2,000 depending on the complexity and scope of your agreement.

Frequently asked questions

A single-member LLC can still benefit from an Operating Agreement by having clear operational rules. It also clarifies ownership rights and interests. Moreover, this document can outline what to do when a new member joins, which is useful for succession planning.

It’s best to create the Agreement when you form your LLC. This way, any changes to the Agreement will be documented in writing, which can help with transparency.

No, you do not need to file the Agreement with the State. However, it’s important to keep a copy for your records and make sure all LLC members have access to it.