Despite the limitations and myths that exist regarding ownership privacy and asset protection, you may still feel strongly about keeping your name off your company’s records as filed with the Secretary of State. You may wonder how to keep LLC ownership private. Or if you have established a corporation, how to keep your ownership of the corporation private. By maintaining privacy, you may discourage some nosy individual, a potential litigant for example, from seeing what businesses you own.
The privacy actually stems from what the State requires to be included on the initial organizational documents and the annual reports that must be filed with the Secretary of State. In Nevada, shareholders of a corporation and members of a limited liability company do not need to be listed on the required filings. With regards to a corporation, only one director and a couple of the officers are required to be listed. And with an LLC, only a manager is required to be listed. Hint: Do not set up your LLC to be “member-managed.”
Consequently, with an LLC, for example, you may list a manager whose authority is restricted in the operating agreement solely to filing the initial articles of organization and annual list of managers. As a result, only this manager’s name will appear on the State’s records. And while you may retain other managerial functions for the LLC, your name will not appear on the Nevada Secretary of State’s records.
A slight variation on this is the naming of an administrative trust to act as the LLC manager. The trust, of course, is operated by the trustees. There can be more than one trustee, one of which has the sole function of signing State documents for the LLC. The other trustee would handle other managerial functions of the day-to-day operations of the LLC.
In either case, if someone is nosy and does a search for your name on the Secretary of State’s public database, your association to the LLC will not be discovered. While this does not mean that your ownership of the company may not be discoverable in other ways, if anonymity on the Secretary of State’s website is your desire, such can be accomplished.