How Can a Minor Own an LLC? (Start a Business as a Teen)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: March 29, 2024
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Most state LLC statutes do not have a minimum age requirement for membership in limited liability companies, so the LLC serves as a viable option to protect young businesspeople from personal liability.

As a seasoned expert in business law and LLC formation, I've written a comprehensive article to answer your query and help you understand how can a minor own an LLC.

Quick Summary

  • A minor can own an LLC through the representation of a parent, guardian, or legal agent.
  • Five states have specific restrictions that prevent minors from starting an LLC, highlighting the importance of understanding and navigating state-specific laws.
  • According to the IRS, the United States has about 21.6 million LLCs, some of which are operated by minors, however, their limitation in owning an LLC lies in their inability to enter legally binding contracts on behalf of the company.
  • I always pinpoint that empowering minors to own LLCs fosters early entrepreneurship and teaches valuable business and life skills from a young age.


How Can a Minor Own an LLC?

Teenager reading a document from an envelope

A minor can form an LLC through the following ways:

  • Representation by a parent or guardian for legal purposes. 
  • Being a passive LLC member by merely investing in the business without active participation.
  • Assigning assets into a trust or custodial account.

I found that to form an LLC with the least hassle, a minor should involve an adult who will likely take an active role in the formation process. This can be done with or without the help of an attorney.

If you're a minor trying to form an LLC, the company should have adult members. However, each state has different LLC laws, so it's better to consult an attorney for professional legal advice.

"Minor ownership in LLCs offers unique opportunities but requires careful legal navigation."

- Delina Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, Distinguished Expert in Mergers & Acquisitions

Can a Minor Get Access to Credit?

Minors can get access to credit, allowing them to take out a business loan in the name of the LLC rather than as an individual.

From my experience, before a minor can avail of a credit line, they must go through the proper legal steps to ensure its validity.

This includes notarization and filing necessary documentation with the state in which a limited liability company is established.

States That Restrict Minors from Owning an LLC Business

Teen woman looking at the list of states that restrict minors from owning an LLC

The following is a list of a few states that restrict minors to start an LLC:

  • Minnesota
  • Oregon
  • Illinois
  • Colorado
  • Texas

Note: This doesn't mean the entrepreneurial journey ends here for minors in these states. I found that partnering with an adult or forming an LLC in a more lenient state can open up pathways to business ownership.

Conversely, states with the most relaxed laws are New York, California, and Delaware, with the latter being known for its open door policies, which makes it a popular choice for minors who want to start a business.

A group of teenage business owners checking legal document

Minors can form business entities with the help of their parents or legal guardians. This includes business structures like corporations (Inc.), general partnerships (GP), limited partnerships (Ltd.), and limited liability companies (LLC).

But keep in mind that business owners are still responsible for business debts, taxes, and any business operations lawsuits.

The legal entity must designate a person in charge, who is usually referred to as the "incorporator," "organizer," or "promoter."

This person's name will appear on business documents, but it can be changed later by filing an amendment to the business' Certificate of Formation [1].

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FAQs

Can a Minor Sign a Contract?

A minor can sign a contract only with consent and representation usually from a parent, guardian, or legal representative to make the document valid.

How Does a Young Entrepreneur Pay Taxes?

A young entrepreneur pays taxes using the 1099-MISC form. Any person who earns at least $400 is required to file a tax return, including minors.

Who Is Eligible to Join an LLC?

Anyone interested in LLC membership is eligible to join. The LLC's members do not have to be U.S. citizens or residents, and they need not even live in the country where the company operates.

Minors need consent and representation to be eligible members.

What Are The Disadvantages of Minors Owning LLCs?

The main disadvantage of minors owning LLCs is their limited ability to enter legally binding contracts since they are difficult to enforce or voidable. Many states forbid minors to enter specific types of contracts, such as property purchases.

Some people may be hesitant to conduct business with a minor-owned LLC because of contract issues.

Are There Any Age Restrictions for Owning an LLC as a Minor?

There may be age restrictions for owning an LLC as a minor due to limitations on entering into legally binding contracts. As minors generally lack contractual capacity, their ability to own an LLC may be restricted or require parental/guardian involvement.

Can a Minor Be Listed as the Sole Owner of an LLC?

In most jurisdictions, a minor cannot be listed as the sole owner of an LLC due to limitations on contractual capacity. However, they can conceptualize a business idea that can be pursued and owned by a legal adult until the minor reaches the age of majority.


Reference:

  1. https://www.upcounsel.com/certificate-of-amendment

About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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