We form dozens of limited liability companies every year for clients. LLCs have almost totally replaced corporations since the IRS now allows LLCs to select different tax treatments, including the popular Subchapter S status. Single member LLCs are “disregarded” by the IRS and do not have to file a separate tax return. Unlike corporations, LLCs do not require annual registrations, shareholder and director meetings, stock certificates and other formalities. The “operating agreement” for your LLC can contain all the critical aspects of ownership: control, authority of members and managers, restrictions on transfers, and what happens when a member departs or dies.
Note, however, that keeping valuable assets in your LLC is usually NOT a good idea. Remember, one of the main reasons you formed your LLC was to create a “submarine compartment” where business liabilities are contained and do not result in claims against your other assets, e.g. your home and IRAs. In a “perfect” world you can walk away from the LLC if there is a devastating claim, and you would not be severely impacted. (This is why banks and savvy landlords always want you to personally guarantee those LLC obligations.)
Therefore, we recommend keeping valuable assets (real estate, buildings, expensive equipment, etc.) out of the LLC and hopefully immune from company liabilities, and instead, allow the LLC to lease those assets. Often these are “triple net” leases where the LLC pays for taxes, insurance and maintenance. The valuable assets can be held by the owners directly, or sometimes we form another LLC as a holding company.
Take a look at your asset list, and think about keeping valuable assets out of “the submarine compartment.”