When one of your business partners leave, either voluntarily or by death, you have three options. Unless your partnership agreement states otherwise, your first and only option by law is to end the business. If the agreement allows the business to continue after a partner leaves, you may continue with the remaining partners, even if that means becoming a sole proprietorship. Switching to a sole proprietorship structure requires you to make changes with local, state and federal authorities. Continuing as a partnership may only require a name change.

Brainstorm with the remaining partners to come up with a new name for the partnership. It may be as simple as removing the name of the partner who left, or you may decide to rearrange the order of the remaining partners' names. Search the assumed name database of the county clerk where your business is located to ensure no other business uses the name you want. This may require searching various county clerks' records if you have multiple locations. Choose another name if another business already uses it, since the county clerk may require this anyway to avoid confusion.

File a "doing business as," or DBA, form with the county clerk so you can use your new partnership name legally within the county. Choose a time when all partners are available since this is typically required to file a DBA. Fill out the form with the new name of your partnership and pay the filing fee, which is usually at least $10, at the time of publication

Contact the city hall and secretary of state to find out whether you must also file DBA forms at these offices. Filing fees may be as high as $100.


Make the public aware of your new business name. Be tactful when explaining that a partner left, especially if you parted due to conflict. This is respectful to the former partner and maintains a respectable public image for your business.

Consider switching to a name that doesn't include any of the names of the partners. Leaving names out of the equation takes the attention away from a partner's departure.