A comprehensive partnership agreement suitable for a business in any industry and with any number of partners. Covering a large number of practical, commercial and administrative points and also provides additional terms relevant to how a modern day business operates. Use it not only to protect your legal rights but also to set out how you want your partnership to work.
Create a modern partnership agreement
This is a professionally drawn, comprehensive document designed to protect and help you, just as you would expect your solicitor to produce. As well as paragraphs relating to law, it contains a large set of commercial and practical provisions that will help you manage your business and inter-partner relationships. This document should give you a high level of protection in today’s environment.
Despite the completeness and thoroughness of this document, editing is easy. It is written in plain English, without legal jargon or complicated paragraph referencing so that you can simply and easily delete what you don't need.
Why you need such a comprehensive partnership agreement
There is no comprehensive Partnership Act in South Africa. The law of partnership in South Africa consists of South African common-law. Without an agreement, you leave your interest in your business at great risk to being devalued by the actions of your partner. A good agreement must include paragraphs that set out in greater detail how your business will work.Other partnership agreements on the Internet, particularly ‘short’ versions, might cover the basics to form a partnership, but they aren’t likely to protect your interest in your new business sufficiently. Far more issues are considered in this document than in any other template we have seen.
For example, this agreement provides a set of easy-to-edit paragraphs covering intellectual property protection in depth. Most businesses have valuable intellectual property, whether know-how or designs, but few partnership agreements address intellectual property, whether recognising who brings it into partnership, or who has the right to use it during and once the partnership ends.
If your business has less at stake, as small trader or service provider, we offer a similar document in our Family partnership agreement.
Who should use this partnership agreement
A partnership agreement is not specific to a particular type of business. Its purpose is to set out the arrangements between the parties about how they will work, in much the same way as a shareholders’ agreement for a company. So this template has a wide range of uses:
- It is ideal for partnerships with between 2 and 10 partners, but could be used for larger partnerships as well.
- Ownership of partnership assets and share of income and expenses does not have to be in equal proportions. Your sharing ratio could be 50:50, but it could also be 60:40, 70:30 or any other.
- This agreement can be used if one or more of the partners is 'sleeping' or 'silent', i.e. contributes finances, experience or assets but does not take part in the day to day running of the business.
- Whilst partners in most partnership arrangements are likely to be human individuals, this agreement can be used where one or more is a company or a non profit organisation.
- Your 'business' as partners could be a single specific project, such as a technology development project, and does not necessarily have to be commercial in nature.
When to use this partnership agreement
A partnership agreement is likely to be required in the following circumstances:
- when two or more people start a new business or project together
- when a new person takes a share in an existing business operated by one person
- when existing partners want to formalise their partnership agreement
- when existing partners want to change the balance of control and ownership of the business
- Business of the Partnership
- Partnership shares
- Partnership property
- Loans to the Partnership
- Banking arrangements
- Records and accounts
- Meetings and voting
- Good faith
- Partnership policies
- Restrictions on Partners
- Intellectual Property
- No competition
- Termination of the Partnership
- After termination
- Indemnity for the Partnership
- Publicity / Announcements
- Comprehensive termination provisions to protect ongoing partners
- Other terms
This document was written and is maintained by solicitors at Net Lawman to comply with current South Africa law.
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As much as possible, our documents and guidance notes incorporate practical angles that only lawyers with commercial experience could include. Our drafting team have not just many years experience advising clients in practice, but also have the experience owning and managing businesses in a wide variety of industries. Our documents aim to give you an edge as well as achieving a legal outcome. Read more about the Net Lawman team.
We write our documents in language that everyone (and not just lawyers) can understand. Not only does this make your task of editing the document easier, but it also decreases the likelihood of another party breaking or disputing the agreement on the grounds of not having understood the terms. Read more about why plain English is important in legal documents.
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Many of our customers are lawyers, but our documents don't require you to be one. Wherever it may be needed, our guidance notes explain the purpose of each paragraph, whether we recommend changing it, and what you might like to consider before you do so.
Our view is that, when editing our documents, you shouldn't have to worry about how to add legal wording. So our documents consider a far greater range of issues than our average customer will need, and because we avoid cross referencing paragraphs, we make it easy for you simply to delete what you don't need without affecting the rest of the document.
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