If you own or are part of a limited liability company, or LLC, in Maine, you may (or may not) know about several important changes to the LLC statute in Maine last summer.

These new changes offer some different ways to do business but also have some potential traps for those who do not bother to educate themselves. If you are not aware of these changes, now is the time to educate yourself.

One fundamental change is a move toward more flexibility.

Under the new statute, you can make your own rules now more than ever. The new statute eliminates some of the requirements for how an LLC should operate.

For example, gone is the mandate that an LLC be either member-run or manager-run. Instead, you can use whatever designations you choose as titles for those who manage the company, such as director, principal or chief bottle washer.

Also gone is the mandate prohibiting the elimination of certain fiduciary duties. This means, for example, that owners can loosen the restrictions on their activities so they can participate in other similar ventures (such as investing in more than one piece of commercial real estate).

So now is a good time to sit down with your other stakeholders and discuss how you might want to take advantage of these changes.

Another change allows both the owners and management of an LLC to remain anonymous.

While most business owners want to stand proudly by their businesses, there may be good reasons why some others wish to remain anonymous. Say you’re a landlord and own several properties, all run by a property manager. You may wish to stay anonymous to avoid phone calls about a leaky pipe, since those should go to your property manager.

Other owners of LLCs may wish to remain unknown because they don’t want their wealth or involvement disclosed.

Previously, an LLC was required annually to disclose publicly the names of either the individual members (owners) or managers who ran the LLC. Now, the LLC need merely provide the name and address of a contact person, who need not be an owner, manager or officer.

A new trap for the unwary is contained in the rules for going out of business. Typically, owners expect that if they own half of an LLC, they would receive half of any monies received when the LLC is sold or goes out of business.

The new statute allows that result if the owners write their agreement that way, but it creates a default rule that monies will be distributed in accordance with “capital accounts” (an accounting concept) rather than by ownership percentage.

The result is that the person who put up the initial funds may get all of the proceeds from the sale of the business regardless of ownership percentages, and regardless how much work the other owners perform. This is an extreme (and probably rare) result, but it highlights the need to make sure your agreement is up to date.

With this new statute, it is more important than ever to have a concrete plan in your agreement stating what you want to happen if you ever go out of business.

Another part of the new statute gives LLCs the ability to publicly designate a person or position with authority to conduct business on behalf of the LLC.

This section brings back the so-called “Statement of Authority” that was a part of Maine’s LLC statute in the 1990s. Taking advantage of this option may simplify business for LLCs that routinely deal with real estate or banks, where it is helpful to have a public record of who has authority to act on behalf of the LLC.

There are other changes that go beyond the scope of this article.

Overall, the changes to the statute do not represent a sea change, but they are important to know as an LLC owner. Now is the time to educate yourself and to investigate whether you should consider any changes to your LLC agreement.