The Uniform Partnership Act (UPA) governs business partnerships in about 44 U.S. states and districts. It applies to general partnerships and limited liability partnerships (LLPs). The UPA allows partnerships to continue for 90 days after a partner leaves to prevent immediate dissolution and regulates partnership creation, liabilities, assets, and fiduciary duties.
Partnerships in several states in the U.S. are regulated by the UPA, which also includes provisions for dissolving partnerships in the event of a partner's departure. Over time, the UPA has undergone amendments, leading to the Revised Uniform Partnership Act (RUPA).
UPA Key Concepts
The UPA is a statute created in 1914 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL). It operates as a rule passed by legislators and is followed by 44 U.S. states and districts, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The UPA applies to general partnerships and LLPs, but not to limited partnerships (LPs).
The main goal of the UPA is to guide various business relationships, particularly for small businesses and loose partnerships. Larger businesses typically have detailed agreements in place to govern any changes. The act covers the creation of partnerships, and the fiduciary duties of partners, and defines partnership assets and liabilities.
UPA Provisions and Amendments
The Uniform Partnership Act includes a crucial provision that allows the majority of remaining partners to agree to continue the partnership within 90 days if one partner leaves. This provision prevents immediate dissolution of the partnership.
The UPA is organized into twelve articles, covering provisions, definitions, partnership formation, property transfer, partner responsibilities, dissociation events, purchasing dissociated partner interests, dissolution, LLPs, mergers, foreign LLPs, and miscellaneous provisions.
Since its initial draft in 1914, the UPA has undergone several revisions, with the most recent one in 1997, along with amendments in 2011 and 2013 to clarify some language. The NCCUSL has been actively involved in drafting over 250 uniform acts since 1892, covering various legislative areas, such as law, real estate, limited liability, franchise and business opportunities, and unfair trade practices.
LLPs Amendments Under the UPA
In 1996, the Limited Liability Partnership Amendments were incorporated into the Uniform Partnership Act, introducing several important features:
- The act offers limited liability protection for general partners in a limited liability partnership.
- Partners can have certain interests designated as separate liabilities, protecting them from claims on aggregate partnership assets by creditors. Creditors can only make claims against the individual partner's assets.
- It sets standards for conversions and mergers, allowing partnerships to change to limited partnerships or merge to form new entities.
- The act establishes duties for partners to act in good faith, which cannot be overridden by any partner or partnership agreement.
UPA vs. RUPA
The Uniform Partnership Act was established in 1914 and later revised in 1994, resulting in the Revised Uniform Partnership Act. However, subsequent revisions in 1996 and 1997 make the 1997 version the official one, rendering RUPA unofficial and confusing. The current official version is the Uniform Partnership Act of 1997, which has been further amended in 2011 and 2013.
Uniform Law Commission
The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) promotes uniformity in state laws across the U.S. They draft various uniform acts, including the widely adopted Uniform Partnership Act. Commissioners, who are lawyers, law professors, or judges, represent states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each state decides whether to enact the recommended laws.
The Uniform Partnership Act plays a critical role in governing business partnerships in the United States. From regulating partnership creation and liabilities to protecting partners from immediate dissolution, this act guides various business relationships. Although it has undergone several revisions and amendments over the years, it remains a vital tool for small businesses and loose partnerships to this day.