General Partnership Law & Legal Definition


A partnership is a business enterprise entered into for profit which is owned by more than one person, each of whom is a "partner." A partnership may be created by a formal written agreement, but can also be established through an oral agreement or just a handshake. Each partner has an agreed percentage of ownership in return for an investment of a certain amount of money, assets and/or effort. Each partner is responsible for all the debts and contracts of the partnership even though another partner may have created the debt or entered into the contract. General partners share in management decisions, and share in profits and losses according to the percentage of the total investment. A partnership agreement may provide for certain division of management, shares of investment, profit and/or rights to buy out a partner upon leaving the partnership or death. Each partner owes the other partners a duty of full disclosure of information which affects the business and cannot use business opportunites which rightfully belong to the partnership for personal advantage. A partnership which does business under a trade name must file a certificate of "doing business under a fictitious name," or DBA notice, with the county or state, giving public notice of the names of partners and the business address.