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Characteristics of a partnership

August 7, 2009

Characteristics of a partnership consider the following,

Two or more members:

* At least two members are required to start a partnership business. But the number of members should not exceed 10 in case of “banking business” and 20 in case of “other business”.

* If the number of members exceeds this maximum limit, then that business is not called as a partnership business legally.

Partnership agreement:

Whenever you think of starting a partnership business, there must be an agreement between all the partners. This agreement must contain-

* The amount of initial capital contributed by each partner

* Profit or loss sharing ratio for each partner

* Salary or commission payable to the partners, if any

* Duration of business, if any

* Name and address of the partners and the firm

* Duties and powers of each partner;

* Nature and place of business

* Any other terms and conditions to run the business

* The partnership deed is usually not very hard to prepare through a trusted local lawyer.

Lawful business:
The partners should always carry on any kind of lawful business. To start a business in smuggling, black marketing, etc., is not termed as a partnership business in the eye of the law. Again, doing social work is not termed as a partnership business.

Competence of partners:
Since individuals join hands to become partners, it is necessary that they must be “competent” to enter into a partnership. Thus, minors, lunatics and insolvent people are not eligible to become partners. However, a minor can be admitted to the benefits of partnership i.e., he can have a share in the profits only.

Sharing of profits:
The main objective of every partnership firm is to make and share the profits of the business. In the absence of any “agreement” for profit sharing, it should be shared “equally” among the partners. Suppose, there are two partners in the business and they earn a profit of Rs.20, 000. They may share the profits equally i.e., Rs.10,000 each or in any other agreed proportion, say one forth and three fourth i.e. Rs.5,000/- and Rs.15,000/-

Unlimited liability:
Just like a sole proprietorship, the liability of partners in a partnership is also unlimited. This means, if the assets of the firm are insufficient to meet the liabilities, the personal properties of the partners, if any, can be utilized to meet the business liabilities.

Voluntary registration:

It is not compulsory that you register your partnership firm. However, if you don’t get your firm registered, you will be deprived of certain legal benefits; therefore it is desirable to register. The effects of non-registration are:

Your firm cannot take any action in a court of law against any other parties for settlement of claims.

In case there is any dispute among partners, it is not possible to settle the disputes through a court of law.

No separate legal existence:

Just like sole proprietorships, partnership firms also have no separate legal existence from its owners. The partnership firm is just a name for the business as a whole. If someone sues the firm, it is as good as someone seeing all the partners.

Restriction on transfer of interest:

No partner can sell or transfer his share or part or partnership of the firm to any one without the consent of the other partners. For example, A, B, and C are three partners. If “A” wants to sell his share to “D” as his health problems prevent him from working, he can not do so until B and C both agree.

Continuity of business:

A partnership firm comes to an end at death, lunacy or bankruptcy of any partner. Even otherwise, it can stop its business at the will of the partners. At any time, they may take a decision to end their partnership.

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