Unlimited Liability

Definition of 'Unlimited Liability'


A type of business where owners share joint and several responsibility for the entire amount of debt and other liabilities amassed by the business. Unlimited liability is not capped at a maximum amount and exists regardless of the amount of investment each owner has personally made. If the business is unable to meet any financial obligations or settle any outstanding liabilities, the owner's personal assets can be seized to satisfy the debts. This is in contrast to a limited liability structure where owners' losses cannot exceed the total amount invested in the business. Unlimited liability is found in general partnerships and sole proprietorships.

Investopedia explains 'Unlimited Liability'


Unlimited liability means that owners can be held personally accountable for a business's debt. For example, three partners each invest $20,000 in a business. The business accrues $150,000 in liabilities. If the business is unable to repay the debts or defaults on its debt, each of the three partners is equally liable for the debt. In other words, each would have to come up with $50,000 above their initial investment to satisfy the debt. Placing personal assets at risk can be disadvantageous and many businesses choose to form as limited partnerships instead.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Oil Reserves

    An estimate of the amount of crude oil located in a particular economic region. Oil reserves must have the potential of being extracted under current technological constraints. For example, if oil pools are located at unattainable depths, they would not be considered part of the nation's reserves.
  2. Joint Venture - JV

    A business arrangement in which two or more parties agree to pool their resources for the purpose of accomplishing a specific task. This task can be a new project or any other business activity. In a joint venture (JV), each of the participants is responsible for profits, losses and costs associated with it.
  3. Aggregate Risk

    The exposure of a bank, financial institution, or any type of major investor to foreign exchange contracts - both spot and forward - from a single counterparty or client. Aggregate risk in forex may also be defined as the total exposure of an entity to changes or fluctuations in currency rates.
  4. Organic Growth

    The growth rate that a company can achieve by increasing output and enhancing sales. This excludes any profits or growth acquired from takeovers, acquisitions or mergers. Takeovers, acquisitions and mergers do not bring about profits generated within the company, and are therefore not considered organic.
  5. Family Limited Partnership - FLP

    A type of partnership designed to centralize family business or investment accounts. FLPs pool together a family's assets into one single family-owned business partnership that family members own shares of. FLPs are frequently used as an estate tax minimization strategy, as shares in the FLP can be transferred between generations, at lower taxation rates than would be applied to the partnership's holdings.
  6. Yield Burning

    The illegal practice of underwriters marking up the prices on bonds for the purpose of reducing the yield on the bond. This practice, referred to as "burning the yield," is done after the bond is placed in escrow for an investor who is awaiting repayment.
Trading Center