How to Transfer LLC Ownership in Washington 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Transfer LLC Ownership in Washington

Transferring LLC ownership in Washington (also known as The Evergreen State) is a simple process with minimal paperwork. Whether it’s a partial or complete ownership transfer of your LLC in Washington, understanding the essential steps, the Operating Agreement’s role, and seeking legal expertise can make the process even smoother.

In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of transferring LLC ownership in Washington and offer insights to help you confidently buy or sell your ownership. At LLCBase, we aim to make business formation easier and less overwhelming, supporting you every step of the way.

What is an LLC Ownership Transfer

An LLC Ownership Transfer refers to the process of changing the ownership structure of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) by transferring all or a portion of an existing owner’s (member’s) ownership interest to another individual or entity. This transfer could occur for various reasons, such as bringing in new partners, selling the business, or planning for succession or estate purposes.

Individuals, corporations, other LLCs, or any entity can hold the position of an owner in an LLC in Washington. There is no restriction on LLC ownership in Washington. LLC owners are called members. A single owner is called a “Single-Member LLC,” if there is more than one owner, it is called a “Multi-Member LLC.”

When an LLC member decides to step down from the owner’s position, they must transfer the ownership to someone else. It can be other existing members of the LLC or a third party. Transferring LLC ownership in Washington is a common yet complex deed. LLC owners, who want to transfer their ownership, must follow some steps to do the task.

Recommended: If you need assistance to assess and update your operating agreement, we recommend hiring an legal service. With their experienced team of professionals, you’ll gain peace of mind, ensuring that your updated operating agreement effectively complies with state regulations. We recommend –

Our #1 Pick: LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup

Why Transfer LLC Ownership in Washington

Various reasons can necessitate the transfer of LLC ownership in Washington within an organization. Some of the most common reasons are outlined below:

  • Death of the LLC owner: In the unfortunate event of the death of an LLC owner, it becomes necessary to transfer their ownership to another individual or entity. This can involve the distribution of their share to existing members or the appointment of a new owner.
  • Separation or Divorce of the LLC Owners: When an LLC owner undergoes a separation or divorce, the distribution of their ownership might be mandated as part of the legal proceedings. This can result in the need to transfer ownership to their spouse or another party.
  • LLC owners wish to refrain from continuing their association with the organization: Sometimes, an LLC owner might decide to pursue other interests or retire, prompting them to relinquish company ownership. The ownership must be transferred to another individual or entity in such cases.
  • LLC owners want to appoint a new member (owner): During the business’s growth and development, the LLC owners might bring in a new member with fresh perspectives and expertise. This can involve transferring a portion of the existing owner to the new member.
  • LLC owners want to sell the business off to someone else: There might be situations where the LLC owners decide to sell the entire business, including its assets and liabilities, to another party. In this case, the ownership of the LLC will be transferred to the new owner as a part of the sale.

These are just a few examples of the common reasons why an LLC ownership gets transferred in Washington. It is important to note that transferring LLC ownership requires a comprehensive Operating Agreement. This internal document outlines the rules and procedures for the company’s operations, including the transfer of ownership rights. Every LLC should have an Operating Agreement in place at the time of formation to ensure smooth transitions and avoid potential disagreements among members.

How to Transfer Washington LLC Ownership

To change the ownership of your Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Washington, we prepared several straightforward procedures that need to be adhered to.

We’ve also compiled a list of the best business attorneys in Washington to assist you in updating your LLC operating agreement, filing the Amended Certificate of Formation, securing new EIN, and other requirements!

LLC Services

Rating & Pricing

Top Features

Learn More

#1 Editor's Choice

$0 + State Filing Fee

  • Free LLC Formation

  • Various Legal Services

  • Attorney Advice

$299 + State Filing Fee

  • Single Package

  • Flat Pricing

  • Legal Services

But if you intend to do it yourself, here are the detailed steps that you need to follow:

Step 1: Update Your LLC Operating Agreement

Many states do not require filing an LLC Operating Agreement in Washington, making it optional for LLCs during formation. However, if your LLC does not have an Operating Agreement, you must create one while transferring the LLC ownership. This document should include ownership transfer conditions and other legal requirements related to the buy-out and sale of the LLC. If you already have an Operating Agreement, carefully review and update it to cover all aspects of the ownership transfer process.

Step 2: File the Amended Certificate of Formation

Transferring ownership may lead to structural changes at the managerial level. In this case, the LLC must comply with the {Washington Secretary of State by filing Washington Certificate of Formation amendment. In Washington, LLCs must submit a Public Information Report annually to the Washington State Department of Revenue detailing managerial changes.

Once the ownership transfer negotiation is complete and an agreement with updated ownership information is in place, file the amendment with the Washington Secretary of State. Amend the Certificate of Formation, obtain the Amended Certificate of Formation form, and submit it to the Washington SOS along with any supporting documents and the required filing fee.

Recommended: When filing the Certificate of Formation amendment, consult with an LLC service to get the right guidance you deserve! We recommend –

Our #1 Pick: LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup

Step 3: Notify Relevant Parties

Once you have fulfilled all the necessary legal requirements and successfully transferred the ownership of your LLC in Washington, it is crucial to communicate this change to all relevant parties. This includes informing clients, partners, banks, and other financial institutions of the updated ownership status. Additionally, notify any business entities, vendors, and officials you collaborate with about the shift in the ownership structure. This ensures a smooth transition and maintains transparency with all those connected to your business.

Step 4: Determine if a New EIN is Needed (optional)

Based on the LLC ownership transfer, you should obtain a new EIN in Washington. After the official transfer, check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to determine if you need a new EIN. Obtain the appropriate form from the IRS website, enter the required details, and submit it. The IRS will notify you if you need to apply for a new EIN.

Recommended: When obtaining a new EIN for your LLC, hire a reliable LLC service to assist you and become compliant with the Washington regulations. We recommend –

Our #1 Pick: LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup

By following these steps, you can ensure a seamless transition while transferring LLC ownership in Washington. Remember that consulting a legal expert for potential complexities during the process is always a wise decision.

Washington Operating Agreement

Creating an Operating Agreement in Washington is one of the major steps in forming an LLC in Washington. However, many states do not require an Operating Agreement. California, New York, Delaware, Maine, Nebraska, and Missouri are the states where an LLC operating agreement is mandatory.

Even when your state does not necessarily need you to file the Operating Agreement, it is recommended that you should have it to avoid any internal disagreements or issues in the future. An Operating Agreement is an internal document explaining all the procedures, including ownership transfer, LLC operation, members, Washington business dissolution, and other LLC-related processes. Operations, such as dissolution and ownership transfer, occur based on those written regulations.

If there is no Washington Operating Agreement or it does not have clear ownership transfer or buy-sell agreement provisions, the transfer takes place based on Washington state law.

Recommended: Looking to create a solid foundation for your business with a professionally crafted operating agreement? An LLC Formation Service has you covered! Their expertise ensures a comprehensive operating agreement tailored to your business needs. We recommend –

Our #1 Pick: LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup

How Does Washington LLC Buy-Sell Agreement Work

In Washington, the buy-sell agreement is a part of your Operating Agreement. It explains the instructions for buying and selling the LLC ownership. For example, who can be the member of Washington LLC, how will buy out and sell of the LLC be determined, whether the members of the LLC in Washington will buy the shares of the leaving owner, and how – these are the points you have in the buy-sell agreement.

Buy-Out Washington LLC or Partial Transfer

In this case, the members of the LLC generally buy the shares of the owner who is leaving. As the LLC buys the owner’s interests, the shares get divided equally among the remaining Washington LLC members. LLC members must approve the transfer, and then the Operating Agreement (OA) will be updated to exclude the departed owner.

If your Washington Operating Agreement does not specify these terms beforehand, you must follow Washington state LLC law. In some states, ownership transfer only takes place. Instead, they have to dissolve the business to continue with the process. So, while you’re forming an Washington LLC, make sure to create a buy-sell agreement beforehand.

Sell Washington LLC or Fully Transfer

Selling an LLC or Fully Transferring the ownership is more complicated than the buy-out process. In this condition, owners have the independent legal right to sell the interest to any third party. They do not need other members’ approval for this. The negotiation between the buyer and the seller involves complexities if there is no Operating Agreement in the first place. As an owner, you must find a buyer, write the change of ownership letter, set out other formalities, and voila! Your ownership transfer is done. The parties will settle the sale contract, including the LLC price, following Washington state laws.


What does the state of Washington require to transfer ownership of an LLC?
The state of Washington requires a written agreement between the seller and the buyer to transfer LLC ownership and file the appropriate documents with the Secretary of State.
What are the documents required to transfer LLC ownership in Washington?
The documents required to transfer LLC ownership in Washington include a Certificate of Formation, Operating Agreement, and a Bill of Sale or Stock Transfer Agreement.
What is a Bill of Sale in the context of LLC ownership transfer?
A Bill of Sale is a legal document that confirms the transfer of ownership of the LLC. It is a receipt for the purchase of the LLC and can be used as evidence in court if there are any disputes or legal issues with regard to ownership.
How long does it take to transfer LLC ownership in Washington?
The time it takes to transfer LLC ownership in Washington depends on the complexity of the transfer, but typically takes a few weeks to process all the paperwork and the transfer is officially complete.
Can a Washington LLC be transferred without an operating agreement?
No, a Washington LLC cannot be transferred without an operating agreement as this is a critical document that outlines ownership, management, profit-sharing, and other important aspects of the LLC.
How often should the operating agreement be reviewed?
The operating agreement should be reviewed periodically, especially when a change in ownership occurs. This is to ensure that the agreement is up to date, properly reflects current business interests, and there are no conflicts or issues.
Is it difficult to transfer LLC ownership in Washington?
It can be challenging to transfer LLC ownership in Washington, especially if there are disputes between the buyer and seller, or if the LLC is subject to multiple liability claims.
Can a Washington LLC prohibit the transfer of ownership?
Yes, a Washington LLC can have provisions in the operating agreement that restrict or prohibit the transfer of ownership without the consent of existing members.
Are there any tax implications for transferring LLC ownership in Washington?
There are tax implications when transferring LLC ownership in Washington based on state and federal tax laws. It is important to consult a tax expert to navigate the process and comply with tax laws.
What forms do I need to submit to transfer LLC ownership?
You will need to submit a form to the Washington Secretary of State’s office, specifically the Certificate of Amendment to modify the existing Certificate of Formation. Additionally, you may need to file a Bill of Sale or Stock Transfer Agreement.
How can I transfer LLC ownership to a family member in Washington?
To transfer LLC ownership to a family member in Washington, you need to prepare a stock transfer agreement or Bill of Sale, execute it, and file the necessary documents with the Secretary of State.
Can I sell my share in a Washington LLC to a third party?
You can sell your share in a Washington LLC to a third party with the consent of other LLC members, as long as you comply with state and federal laws.
What happens to the LLC’s debts upon transfer of ownership?
The transfer of ownership does not change the liabilities of an LLC, and previous debt remains tied to the LLC until it is fully paid.
Will I need to obtain new business licenses if I acquire an LLC in Washington?
New business licenses are not typically required to acquire an LLC in Washington State. But you should check with the Washington Business License Service before completing your purchase.
Can a Washington LLC change its legal name during the transfer of ownership?
Yes, a Washington LLC can change its legal name during the transfer of ownership process. This requires filing the necessary forms with the Secretary of State.
Is there a right of first refusal in Washington LLC operating agreements?
A right of first refusal can be included in a Washington LLC operating agreement, which provides existing LLC members with the option to purchase the LLC interest of an existing member before it is sold on the open market.
Do I need to draft a new operating agreement if existing members buy out a departing member?
In case of a buy-out, an amendment or restatement of the operating agreement may be sufficient for an existing member to buy out a departing member.
Is my LLC still active during the transfer of ownership process?
Yes, the LLC remains active during the transfer of ownership process
How can I dissolve an LLC in the state of Washington?
To dissolve an LLC in Washington, the LLC must be in good standing, and all state filings and taxes must be fulfilled before, filing Articles of Dissolution.
Can dissolved LLCs still operate in Washington?
If approved, an LLC can continue to exist when members dissolve the LLC under specific circumstances.
What is the fee for transferring the ownership of an LLC in Washington?
The cost and fees for transfer of LLC ownership varies depending on different facto̩rs including the complexity of the procedure, preparing legal documents or filing amendments.
Do I need an attorney to transfer LLC ownership in the state of Washington?
It is not mandatory to have an attorney to transfer LLC ownership in the state of Washington, but consider consulting with an attorney or a tax specialist to safeguard your interests and comply with state law.
Does Washington have a grace period for businesses faced with closure or transfer?
No, the state of Washington has no official grace period. But the Office of Secretary of State suspends the taxes from occurrence until shifted, transferred, or reorganized else.
Can a limited liability company exist perpetually in Washington?
Yes, a Washington LLC exists indefinitely until dissociation, dissolution, or incapacitation.
What fiscal proof is required while transferring LLC ownership in Washington?
State procedures may or may not demand proof of funding or financial statements, depending on each function, strength, and circumstances.
Can creditors object to the sale of an LLC in Washington?
Yes, internal and external creditors, who have an interest in the business or have invested, can object in Washington.
Can using my personal funds in the LLC influence the transfer of ownership?
Yes, an influx of personal assets or violation of mandatory legal measures can impact your ability to sell your interests in an LLC. .
How long are personal guarantees binding in Washington LLC’s?
Personal guarantees last as long as the liabilities It secures exist unless it is terminated or nullified via negotiated release with creditor.
What is an LLC?
An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a business structure that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation.
Do all states have the same LLC regulations?
No, each state has its own regulations regarding LLCs.
What is the process of transferring LLC ownership in Washington?
The process of transferring LLC ownership in Washington involves several steps, including obtaining consent from all current LLC members, drafting and signing a new operating agreement, recording the transfer with the Secretary of State, and updating any relevant tax documents.
Can the transfer of LLC ownership be done without the consent of the other members?
No, all LLC members must give their signed consent before any transfer of ownership can occur.
What is an operating agreement?
An operating agreement is a legal document that outlines how an LLC will operate and establishes rules for the members.
Can the operating agreement be modified during the transfer of LLC ownership in Washington?
Yes, the operating agreement can be modified during the transfer of LLC ownership in Washington, ideally with the agreement of all members.
What is required for a transfer of LLC ownership to be legally recognized in Washington?
In Washington, a written and signed document showing the transfer is required to legally recognize the transfer of LLC ownership.
Who should draft the agreement for transferring LLC ownership in Washington?
Typically, an experienced attorney should draft the agreement for transferring LLC ownership in Washington.
Can a new member be added to the LLC during the transfer of ownership in Washington?
Yes, a new member can be added to the LLC during the transfer of ownership in Washington with the agreement of all members.
What is the role of the Secretary of State in transferring LLC ownership in Washington?
The Secretary of State in Washington maintains a record of LLC ownership changes and must be notified to update the records.
Is there a fee for transferring LLC ownership in Washington?
Yes, there is a fee for transferring LLC ownership in Washington, its amount depends on the state and filing method used.
Should a Transfer of LLC Ownership agreement be recorded with the Washington State government offices?
Yes, the transfer of LLC ownership agreement must be recorded with the Washington State government offices.
Are there any tax implications in transferring LLC ownership in Washington?
Yes, transferring LLC ownership may lead to tax implications for the LLC and for the transferring members, it is recommended to consult an accountant before doing any transfer.
Can an LLC continue without its original members in Washington?
Yes, an LLC can continue without its original members in Washington.
Is approval from third parties required before the transfer of LLC ownership is possible in Washington?
No third-party approval is required for transferring LLC ownership in Washington, only the approval all the current LLC members involved in the transaction is enough.
Do LLCs in Washington have to submit tax returns?
Yes, under Washington law, LLCs must file a tax return with the Washington Government every year to remain compliant.
Can non-US residents own an LLC in Washington?
Yes, non-US residents can own an LLC in Washington, but they must appoint a registered agent to act on behalf of the LLC.
Can minors be LLC members in Washington?
No, minors cannot be LLC members in Washington because of legal capacity limitations.
Are LLC annual reports needed in Washington?
Yes, LLC annual reports are required in Washington state, and they are automatically filed together with the renewal documents in March every year.
What is the taxation scheme for LLCs in Washington?
In Washington, LLCs are subject to state tax only (not federal tax) and it is based on the net income the company produced.
Is a notary public required for the Transfer of LLC Ownership Agreement?
A special formatting or notary public isn’t required for transferring LLC ownership in Washington, but it is recommended, especially when an attorney isn’t involved.
Should an attorney become involved in transferring LLC ownership?
It is often advisable to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in Washington state LLC law, preferably one who practices in Washington, especially for legal documentation.
Can outside investors get ownership of an LLC?
Yes, outside investors can get ownership of an LLC, but it will have to go through the operating agreement to determine the best method of issuing new ownership/shares in the company (for example through cash infusion or giving others space in the company by downsizing shares of current owners).
Can I transfer part of my stake as an LLC founder to other members in Washington?
Yes, LLC founders can transfer parts of their ownership to other LLC members in Washington legally, provided that there is no objection from other members.
Does filing for bankruptcy make transfer LLC ownership impossible in Washington?
Not necessarily, but for concerns over bankruptcy implications, it is best to consult a bankruptcy attorney before undergoing any LL Ownership Transfer process that may be affected.
Do I have to update my business documentation with the Washington State Office?
Yes, you need to conduct the transfer LLC ownership procedure in compliance with all government regulations of the state of Washington, which usually involve updates to multiple government offices documents.
If someone buys an LLC, do they take over the businesses’ outstanding debts in Washington?
No, if someone buys an LLC, he will obtain Title to the LLC’s assets and liabilities up likewise; however, if the original LLC’s members “assigned and transferred” the debts or left a debt behind it belongs only to the LLC entities not the buyers.Personally, in case of the potential issue, the buyer is advised to Request the “Merchant Account Rescission ” + written guarantee of no past or existing debts from the formers.

Also Read


Navigating the process of LLC ownership transfer in Washington can be a breeze with minimal paperwork and steps involved. All you need to do is update the formation documents with the new ownership details, file the necessary amendments, inform relevant parties, and adhere to the state’s regulations. To make the process even more seamless, consider enlisting the help of professional services that specialize in LLC ownership transfers. Please don’t wait any longer; visit LLCBase now to explore how we can assist you in streamlining the entire process!

Leave a Comment