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As a part time counselor in private practice I'm considering…

As a part time...

As a part time counselor in private practice I'm considering a WA state PLLC or LLC. I'm near the end of my career, but feel like a bit more liability protection is wise. (I already have malpractice protection). Which of the two would be better?

Lawyer's Assistant: Can you tell me what state the LLC is registered in?

It will be in Washington state if I do it.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been officially filed? If so, what?

I've been a licensed sole proprieter, no LLC

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Deciding between LLC and PLLC

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/9/2018
Sean K
Sean K, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 420
Experience: Attorney/Member in Private Law Firm
Verified

Hi, I’m Sean and I will be assisting you as an expert today. I’m an attorney with more than 20 years of experience. It is my goal to provide a solid overview of your situation. Whether the analysis is good or bad as to your matter, I want to make sure you understand any points you need and that you have options to better address the questions you have. If I am able, I will also provide you with some resources.

Give me a moment and I will put together a detailed overview for you addressing the LLC v. the PLLC question.

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The LLC and the PLLC are very similar creatures in that they provide protection for the individual member for actions done as the agent of or in the scope of work for the LLC or the PLLC. In short if you are a member of a PLLC or an LLC and the entity is sued, the liability will be limited to the entity so long as the conduct was done as the member and so long as there was no personal guarantee or personal action.

The LLC can be formed by non-professionals and the PLLC can be formed only by professionals. With limited exceptions, members of a PLLC must be of the same profession - no doctors and lawyers in a PLLC.

It is a bit more involved to form a PLLC as the process typically involves the submission of certain required professional licensing and other documentation. However, the general thought is that if you are a professional, the PLLC is ready made as you let it be known from the outset that you are providing professional services and that patients are on notice to an added degree that you are operating as a professional.

If given the option, while it will require slightly more paperwork, the PLLC is custom made for professionals.

Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation.

If you have any follow up questions it would be my pleasure to answer them. As experts we only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate us positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! There is no cost associated with you rating me and you can still ask follow up questions after rating me and I will respond.

One final point, there may be a delay between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but rest assured, if you ask, I will provide an answer. Thank you again.

Sean K
Sean K, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 420
Experience: Attorney/Member in Private Law Firm
Verified
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thanks. I'm currently a professional counselor (licensed therapist). I may add the profession of life/work coaching to my business which isn't a licensed profession in WA state. Will it be better in that case to get the LLC now, so it covers both - or can the PLLC cover both. Lastly, I have a few clients come to my home office each week. In the unlikely event that someone trips/falls injures themselves walking from their car to a chair in my office - does the LLC/PLLC protect me from personal liability. I'm considering adding business liability to my home insurance, but that might be an unnecessary expense. I'm glad to pay out of pocket from my business in the unlikely event of an injury - but don't want any chance of being personally sued. My business doesn't really have assets, so if it's sued I'm not concerned in the same way.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Did some more research, a PLLC is mandatory if professional occupation.

Correct. Had located statute for you here.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Last part, can you reply to my question about liability above.... If client trips at my home office...

Certainly - In situations such as this, I suggest a dedicated entrance, clear signage and, most importantly, that you do two things. Use your professional office only for your professional work and provide multiple safeguards.

The PLLC protection covers the liability when it is solely in the scope of operation only as the PLLC. If there is a mixing with personal use, it becomes easier to pierce the PLLC protection. Take additional steps by claiming and addressing any business use of the home on tax returns. Have internet and other service providers if possible, in the name of the business. In short segregate and isolate as much as possible.

Then, insulate yourself personally and make sure that your homeowner's policy is at a level that would provide additional protection. When I say this people tend to ask what the need for the PLLC protection is and I explain that you are providing additional levels of protection.

For example, if a person is walking out of a big chain box store and they fall and are hurt they will sue the box store, but they will also sue the landlord and the owner of the building. That is what attorneys do. They name as many defendants as possible to sort out where the most dollars are. As you are working out of your home, you want as many safeguards as possible and the main two are the PLLC and sufficient coverage in the event something happens. Hopefully it never will, but if it does, you will know you are covered.

Let me know if there are more questions.

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