Question: My husband and I acquired a 50% membership interest in an Arizona LLC as community property with right of survivorship. Homer & Marge Simpson own the other 50% of the LLC. My husband died and my husband’s interest in the LLC passed to me automatically per Arizona Revised Statutes Section 29-732.01.
Homer Simpson says that he and Marge now have control of the LLC because the 25% interest I acquired from my husband is a mere assignment of his interest and is not a membership interest with voting rights. The Simpsons say that I own a 25% membership interest in the LLC and the 25 votes associated with that membership interest and an economic right to 25% of the profits of the LLC without any voting rights. Homer says that since my husband’s death members have 75 total votes instead of 100, the Simpsons have 50 votes and I have 25 votes How many votes do I have?
Answer: The interest in the LLC that you inherited from your husband is a membership interest with voting rights rather than an assignment of an economic interest without voting rights if the members of your LLC signed an Operating Agreement that provides that when a married couple own their interest in the LLC as community property with right of survivorship and one of them dies, the interest of the deceased inherited by the survivor is a membership interest. Section 29-731.B.2. If the members of your LLC did not sign such an Operating Agreement then what you inherited from your husband was a 25% economic interest in the LLC without any voting rights.
Lesson to Be Learned: If your Arizona LLC has members who own their membership interests as community property with right of survivorship, joint tenancy with right of survivorship or tenants in common and the members want the heirs who inherit an interest to inherit membership interests with voting rights vs. economic interests without voting rights then the members of the LLC must sign an Operating Agreement that provides that inherited interests are membership interests with voting rights.
Note: My standard Operating Agreement contains this automatic membership interest with respect to inherited interests clause.
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