What are my rights as part owner in a small business when my partner died before paperwork was in place as to his portion of the business?

UPDATED: Oct 28, 2011

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What are my rights as part owner in a small business when my partner died before paperwork was in place as to his portion of the business?

We do not show a profit for this year as we were trying an expansion, however we do have some equipment and tools used in the business. My business partner’s sister seems to feel entitled to everything and I am curious what my rights are. They were not close, only saw each other three times in twenty years and she had no part of this business. Do I have rights or not?

Asked on October 28, 2011 under Business Law, Maryland


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the business was run under a corporation or limited liability company, you need to carefully read the bylaws of the corporation or the operating agreement of the limited liability company in that these documents will set forth how the apportionment and allocation fo business assets are to be handled.

If the business was not an entity, the estate of your business partner needs to be closed out and his share of the partnership included in the inventory of the estate. The sister is not entitled to the brother's share as a matter of course.

I recommend that you consult with a business attorney experienced in Wills and trusts.

Good luck.

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