Registered Series LLC Vs. Protected Series LLC

registered series vs protected seriesDelaware’s limited liability company statute states that LLCs may be comprised in a “series,” each multiple treated as a separate entity with distinct business, debts, members and management.

Effective August 1, 2019, the Delaware Legislature amended the statute’s series LLC provisions. The amendments create a new type of series—a Registered Series LLC— which can be formed through a filing made with the State. The original series LLC is now called the Protected Series.

The logic behind the amendments is to address the issues that prevented the widespread adoption of the series LLC. However, the amendments remove some key benefits of the LLC series—simplicity and a lack of fees. Below we discuss the amendments and their effect on the series LLC form.

Core Differences Between the Registered and Protected Series LLCs

  • Registered Series have to follow a certain naming convention that may not apply to Protected Series LLCs
  • While a Certificate of Good Standing can be acquired for a Protected Series LLC, one cannot be acquired for a series under it. This is not the case for a Registered Series LLC. However, the master LLC for the Registered Series must be in good standing to allow for it.
  • There are other ways that these two entities can differ from one another and this will also be affected by the respective state's laws.

Delaware Series LLC Requirements

Delaware law still requires little to create or document individual series, even in the case of a registered series.

Delaware requires that the Certificate of Formation of a series “LLC” contains specific “series” language, which states that the LLC may create a separate series intended to be operationally and legally separate. Further, the separateness of the series must be respected by actions such as maintaining separate records, accounts and tax ID numbers.

Delaware’s LLC statute did not, and does not require any filings to create original series. The statute set out no naming rules or requirements for the original series, what is now known as the Protected Series. One concern is the business world has the extra task of integrating the Registered Series and the Original Protected Series into existing law and business practices.

Additional Requirements for Registered Series

The amendments create a class of Registered Series that require slightly greater documentation and formality for their creation. The requirements include:

  • Filing with the State of Delaware and paying an annual $75 franchise fee (per series).
  • Complying with certain naming requirements. In order to reduce confusion as to the nature of the registered series and its relationship to the LLC, a registered series’ name must begin with that of the overarching LLC.
  • Listing a registered agent, and paying respective Registered Agent Fees.

The Registered Series Addresses Previous Lack of Documentation

In opening certain accounts or conducting significant business transactions, including those involving an extension of credit or a loan, a company (in this case, an individual series) is required to provide a Certificate of Formation and a Certificate of Good Standing.

Original Series (now called the Protected Series) cannot satisfy this request for each of the internal series in the Protected Series LLC. This can raise issues and cause delays in drawing up contracts. The ability of a series to provide a Certificate of Formation and a Good Standing Certificate for each registered series makes it easier to address those concerns.

The Registered Series Leaves Some Issues Unaddressed

Even though the amendments address a number of issues, many issues remain outstanding. It is unclear whether or not states other than Delaware (which do not have a series concept in their business entity law or jurisprudence) will respect the separateness of the asset shields of the Delaware series.

Further, many service providers, banks, attorneys, accountants, other businesses are still unfamiliar with the series concept, regardless of the new changes. It often takes time to explain the series concept and to obtain approval for documentation required, for example, from a bank’s lending group.

The Failures of the Amendments

The key justifications for using the series LLC were the ease of creation and documentation, and the absence of fees. It has been seen as an alternative to creating a large number of separate LLCs.

It was thought that investors would use the Series LLC to hold individual investments, real estate properties or other individual assets under one LLC umbrella, but with the protection of multiple entities.

Though many publications claim the use of the series LLC is growing, and that it is well-suited for certain types of investment, the use of series LLC is problematic, and the recent amendments will likely not change that fact.

The increased formality in creating a series and the greater scrutiny on documentation diminish the administrative ease of the Series LLC. The annual franchise tax fee, although smaller than that required for a separate LLC, increases the cost of the series concept. Forming several, distinct LLCs is a better option, given the unresolved issues in using the Series LLC.


Comparing Protected Series LLC and Registered Series LLC



Protected Series LLC

Registered Series LLC


One annual Franchise Tax of $300, regardless of number of series.

One Registered Agent fee, regardless of number of series.

$300 annual Franchise Tax PLUS an additional $75 per series.

Separate Registered Agent fee for each series. (May not apply to all Registered Agents.)

Naming of Series

Each Series has a unique and independent name.

Each series must begin with the primary (overarching) LLC name.

Documents Available

Certificate of Formation, Certificate of Good Standing, etc. only available for Series LLC name.

Certificate of Formation, Certificate of Good Standing, etc. available each series.

Recognition in Other States

Recognized by some states. Series sometimes treated as individual LLCs.

Less familiar due to recent inception. Unclear whether will receive more acceptance than Protected.

If you're interested in the Delaware Protected Series LLC or Registered Series LLC, you can form a company on our website. Our team is happy to take the lead on the company formation process, so give us a call at 1-800-345-2677 or 1-302-645-7400, and we'll be happy to answer any questions.

Click here to watch our webinar on understanding the different types of LLCs. 

*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.

More By Brett Melson

There is 1 comment left for Registered Series LLC Vs. Protected Series LLC

Elaina D'Agostino said: Thursday, March 9, 2023

Thanks for talking about the registered series LLC and how its name must begin with that of the overarching LLC to avoid confusion. That's fine since my friend doesn't have a name for his company yet. If it is named closely after an overarching LLC that's already established, then he could attract clients using the reputation it already has.

HBS Staff replied: Friday, March 10, 2023

Hi Elaina,

Thank you for reading our blog. We are glad you found it helpful for you and your friend. We wish you much success.

Leave a Comment
* Required
* Required, will not be published