What is Limited Liability?
Limited liability is limited exposure to financial risk by investors of a company or a partnership. This exposure is usually limited to the individual's investment.
How Does Limited Liability Work?
In certain cases where an investor invests his money with a company or partnership, this investor will not be liable for any financial risk beyond what he has invested in the business entity. These types of entities are normally limited liability partnership arrangements and limited liability companies.
For example, if an investor enters into an agreement to join a LLC, his investment of $100,000 is his total liability. In other words, he can potentially lose all of this and no more. He won't be liable for any liability beyond this initial $100,000. If he were to invest additional sums, this limited liability would then match his total contribution.
Sole proprietorships and general partners in general partnerships, on the other hand, have unlimited liability.
Why Does Limited Liability Matter?
This concept of limited liability enters into the decision making equation of businesses and investors when forming a business entity, otherwise known as choice of entity. Depending on the risks and investments of all the participants, the decision may be made to organize a business with limited liability due to many factors, including but not limited to, taxes, dividends, risk, duration, profession and control.