A difference between a corporation and an LLC is that a creditor of an owner may directly levy on the debtor/shareholder’s stock in a corporation and thus take all the rights that compose the stock share, such as voting rights, right to elect directors, etc. By contrast, a creditor of an LLC is usually limited to a lien against the debtor/member’s economic right to distributions only until the judgment is paid, but the creditor usually takes no other of the debtor/member’s rights in the LLC. (This is often referred to as a “charging order lien” from the form of the relief usually specified in the RULPA/RULLCA).

Calculator on the beachKeep in mind that one can have an “S-LLC” by the simple expedient of checking the box for the LLC to be taxed as a corporation instead of a partnership, and then making the S-election for the LLC.

Although the ruling in the Olmstead case subjected single-member LLC assets to liability tied to its single member, this may be held to be a bad ruling in the future. It certainly goes against the purpose and spirit of the LLC laws. In any event, this potential adverse result may be easily avoided by interjecting a second member in any Florida LLC until the law is further clarified. Another significant problem with an S Corp is that they are, by far, the worst structure for advanced planning purposes. The limitations imposed on financial planning and estate planning and the limitations against international shareholders are major impediments to using S corps, particularly in an increasingly more complicated estate and tax environment and a world that is quickly globalizing.

Too many attorneys and CPAs don’t seem to know that you can make the S election for the LLC; in general I much prefer the LLC for estate planning and asset protection purposes (although the single-member issues can be a concern if their are not two viable members to include in the LLC). While S corporations still have some effective uses, their use in the future as business entities will be far more limited, and LLCs will continue to be the vehicle of choice for privately-held and family businesses.