BizTerm Definition
general partner
Full Definition

A person who joins together with at least one other to own and operate a business for profit--and who, unlike the owners of a corporation, is personally liable for all the business's debts. In addition to being responsible for all partnership debts and obligations, a general partner can take actions that legally bind the entire business. That means, for example, that if one partner signs a contract on behalf of the partnership, it will be fully enforceable against the partnership and each individual partner, even if the other partners weren't consulted in advance and didn't approve the contract. In contrast, a limited partner is liable only to the extent of the capital he or she has invested in the business. The term general partner may also refer to the managing partner of a limited partnership who is responsible for partnership debts over and above his or her individual investment in the partnership. See also partnership, limited partnership.


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