Updated July 8, 2020:

Removing Your Name Overview

This question (how do I take my name off of a business?) is one that may arise in the course of your business career should you desire to end your association with a business entity. Depending on what type of business you are a part of, your options for achieving this will vary, but they could include changing the business name or dissolving the business altogether.

Removing Your Name from a Limited Liability Company

If you wish to have your name removed from a limited liability company (LLC), usually because you wish to withdraw from the LLC, how you will be able to do this will depend on the operating agreement of the LLC. For instance, some LLCs will allow members to withdraw only if all the other members agree to it, while others will allow members to leave for any reason. If your LLC’s operating agreement does not cover this, or if there is no operating agreement, then the state’s default LLC rules will decide. Most states will cover member withdrawal in their default rules; in some states, withdrawal may require a filing with the state.

Removing Your Name from a Partnership

If you want to remove your name from a partnership, there are three options you may pursue:

  1. Dissolve your business. If there is no language in your operating agreement stating otherwise, this will be your only name-removal option. You and your partners will have to dissolve the business and re-register it without your name attached to it, which may be a hassle that all parties concerned wish to avoid.
  2. Change your business’s name. If the operating agreement allows for a partnership to continue after one of the partners leaves, even as a sole proprietorship, then you may change your business name to reflect this. However, you will still have to notify federal, state, and local authorities of this change. Choosing a new name may be as simple as removing the partner’s name from the business name, but you will still have to make sure the name is not already taken by another business in the state.
  3. Use a doing business as (DBA) name. If no alternative name is available or you simply do not wish to change your business name, you can also run your business under a DBA name. To do so, you must file for this name change with the county clerk so as to be able to use the name legally in your county. The filing fee for this can range between $10 and $100.

Removing Your Name from a DBA Partnership

If you are in a DBA partnership and wish to remove your business name, you can simply follow the procedures for this as laid out in your partnership operating agreement. If your agreement does not cover this, however, then you will have to look to what your state’s requirements are for revoking a DBA status. In some states, there are no requirements for dissolution, while in other states there are. Depending on your state, steps you may have to take to separate your name from a DBA partnership may include:

  • Notifying the IRS to have the EIN account associated with the DBA closed.
  • Having the DBA name unregistered with the state (these are typically registered with the county clerk; sometimes with the Secretary of State).
  • Removing your name from any business bank accounts and removing your business partner’s access to any of your bank accounts.
  • Inform all vendors and other business partners in writing that you are no longer in business with your partner, that your partner is not authorized to transact business in your name, and that you will no longer be liable for such business.

This last item is especially important because if a partner wants to withdraw from a partnership, there is the possibility that the other partner will take this poorly and “go rogue,” buying things in the partner’s name, which, if no written notice of partnership withdrawal was made, the other partner will be legally liable for. Many lawsuits and much grief has occurred as a result of neglecting this simple act.

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