If my name isn't on the filing, can I get screwed?
I'm starting a business with a web programmer and I have 51 percent of the shares. I'm just a signee of the partnership agreement, my name isn't being filed under the business. The company will never be split into more than 100 shares unless we both approve and my ownership interest will increase accordingly. How can I be screwed if my name is not on the filing?
Whether you can be "screwed" or not depends on the form of business that you have. If you have a corporation (you did refer to "shares"), many states do not require that the owners' names appear on the certificate of incorporation. The rights of the owners are determined by the state's corporation law, the bylaws, and the shareholders' agreement. If you are in a general partnership, you've entered a murky area, because general partnership certificates do require disclosure of the identities of the owners. Best to review the paperwork with an attorney in your state to get the peace of mind you're seeking.
Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.