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General Partner

Partnership owner(s) with unlimited liability; also commonly referred to as a managing partner, the person responsible for daily business operations. In a partnership between two or more individuals, each person can be a general partner. This means that he or she can act on behalf of the business without seeking the permission of other partners or even informing them. All of this authority comes with a catch, however. A general partner personally assumes unlimited liability for business debts.

Partnerships can have more than one general partner. In such cases, all general partners share the same powers and liabilities. They also share in profits when the business is successful. An alternative to this structure is a limited partnership, in which one person assumes the role of general partner while others are limited partners. Both authority and liability are limited for the latter group.

Why go into a partnership? These arrangements are particularly attractive to doctors, lawyers and other professionals who want to operate largely independently while benefiting from being part of a non-solo business. In partnerships, all partners can pool resources, share responsibilities and costs while still maintaining autonomy in their daily work.

 

EXAMPLE:

 

After years of working for a large hospital, three doctors decided to open their own clinical practice in order to have more control over their schedules and their interactions with patients. Because all three doctors had nearly equal assets and levels of experience, they decided to form a partnership in which each would serve as a general partner.