Every Maine LLC should have an operating agreement in place.
Having a written operating agreement will set clear rules and expectations for the management and operations of your LLC.
Download our free Maine operating agreement template below or sign up to create a custom operating agreement using our free tool.
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Free Maine LLC Operating Agreement Templates
We offer operating agreement templates for single-member LLCs and multi-member LLCs (including member-managed and manager-managed) as well as a customizable operating agreement tool.
Single-Member LLC Operating Agreement
Our single-member LLC operating agreement template was created for limited liability companies with only one member, where the sole member has full control over all affairs of the LLC and no other individuals have a membership interest in the company.
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Multi-Member LLC Operating Agreements
Our multi-member LLC templates are meant for LLCs with more than one member. There are two types available: manager-managed and member-managed.
Create Custom Operating Agreement
Create a custom operating agreement using our free tool. Just answer a few basic questions, and the tool will develop an operating agreement for your new LLC.
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What Is a Maine Operating Agreement?
An operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and operating procedures of an LLC.
Whether you are starting a single-member or multi-member LLC, your operating agreement should address all of the topics below. Some of these stipulations will not have much bearing on the actual operations of a single-member LLC, but are still important to include for the sake of legal formality.
- Organization: When the LLC was officially formed, who its members are, and how ownership is divided. Multi-member LLCs may utilize an equal ownership structure or assign various members different “units” of ownership.
- Management & Voting: Whether the LLC will be managed by its members or by an appointed manager, and how members will go about voting on business matters. Typically, each member has one vote, but you may wish to give some members more voting power than others. For more information on managing your LLC, read our Member-Managed vs Manager-Managed guide.
- Capital Contributions: The amount of money each member has invested in the business. This is also where you should establish an approach to raising additional funds in the future.
- Distributions: How profits and losses will be divided among the members. The most common option is to distribute profits evenly. If you want them divided a different way, this should be detailed in your operating agreement. For more information on the basics of LLC ownership, read our Contributions and Distributions guide.
- Changes to Membership Structure: How roles and ownership will be transferred in the event that a member leaves the company. It’s essential to lay out the process for buying out and/or replacing a member in the LLC’s governing document.
- Dissolution: Dissolution: If at some point all the members of your LLC decide you no longer wish to conduct business, you should officially dissolve it. Outlining the hypothetical process of dissolving your business is an important aspect of your operating agreement. To learn how to dissolve your Maine LLC, read our Maine LLC Dissolution article.
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Why Should I Have a Maine LLC Operating Agreement?
No matter what type of Maine LLC you're starting, you'll want to create an operating agreement. Here's why:
- It’s required by the state. According to Maine Revised Statutes, Limited Liability Company Act Title 31, § 1521 and § 1531(B), every Maine LLC must have an operating agreement in place.
- It'll prevent conflict among your business partners. If you're starting a multi-member LLC, having an operating agreement will prevent misunderstandings amongst your team by setting clear expectations about each partner's role and responsibilities.
- It helps preserve your limited liability status. If you're the sole owner of a single-member LLC in Maine, having an operating agreement will help to ensure your limited liability status is upheld by court officials, and add to your business's credibility as a whole.
The full text of the statutes can be found below:
1. Agreement governs. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3 and section 1522, the limited liability company agreement governs relations among the members as members and between the members and the limited liability company.
2. When agreement does not otherwise provide. To the extent the limited liability company agreement does not otherwise provide for a matter described in subsection 1, this chapter governs the matter.
3. Expansion, restriction or elimination of duties. Except as provided in section 1611, a member's or other person's duties may be expanded, restricted or eliminated as provided in this subsection.
A. To the extent that, at law or in equity, a member or other person has duties, including fiduciary duties, to the limited liability company or to another member or to another person that is a party to or is otherwise bound by a limited liability company agreement, the member's or other person's duties may be expanded or restricted or eliminated by provisions in a written limited liability company agreement; except that the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing may not be eliminated.
B. A written limited liability company agreement may provide for the limitation or elimination of any liabilities for breach of contract and breach of duties, including fiduciary duties, of a member or other person to a limited liability company or to another member or to another person that is a party to or is otherwise bound by a limited liability company agreement.
4. No liability for good faith reliance on agreement. Unless otherwise provided in a limited liability company agreement, a member or other person is not liable to a limited liability company or to another member or to another person that is a party to or is otherwise bound by a limited liability company agreement for breach of fiduciary duty for the member's or other person's good faith reliance on the provisions of the limited liability company agreement.
1. Formation requirements. In order to form a limited liability company:
A. One or more authorized persons must execute a certificate of formation. The certificate of formation must be filed in the office of the Secretary of State and set forth:
(1) The name of the limited liability company;
(2) The information required by Title 5, section 105, subsection 1; and
(3) Any other matters the members determine to include. The certificate of formation may include the information required for a statement of authority as provided in section 1542, subsection 1;
B. A limited liability company agreement must be entered into or otherwise existing. The limited liability company agreement may be entered into either before, after or at the time of the filing of a certificate of formation. Whether entered into or otherwise existing before, after or at the time of the filing of a certificate of formation, a limited liability company agreement may be made effective as of the formation of the limited liability company or at another time or date as provided in or reflected by the limited liability company agreement; and
C. The limited liability company must have one or more members.
2. Time formed. A limited liability company is formed at the time of the filing of the initial certificate of formation in the office of the Secretary of State or at any later date or time specified in the certificate of formation if, in either case, there has been substantial compliance with the requirements of this section. A limited liability company formed under this chapter is a separate legal entity.
3. Notice. The fact that a certificate of formation is on file in the office of the Secretary of State is notice of the matters required to be included by subsection 1, paragraph A, subparagraphs (1) and (2) and matters that may be included pursuant to section 1611, subsection 2, but is not notice of any other fact.
After Creating Your Maine LLC Operating Agreement
Once you have finished your operating agreement, you do not need to file it with your state. Keep it for your records and give copies to the members of your LLC.
Following any major company event, such as adding or losing a member, it is a good idea to review and consider updating the operating agreement. Depending on how your operating agreement is written, it may require some or all of the members to approve an amendment to the document.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need an operating agreement?
Yes. Although you won’t file this document with the state, Maine legally requires that you have an operating agreement in place.
When should I create my operating agreement?
While it's a good idea to create an operating agreement before filing your Certificate of Formation, the state does not discourage LLCs from waiting until the formation process is complete. It's worth noting that some banks require you to submit an operating agreement in order to open a business bank account.
Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state?
No. Operating agreements are to be retained by the LLC members. There is no need to file your operating agreement with the Maine Secretary of State.