In modern-day corporate law, the existence of a joint-stock company is often synonymous with incorporation (possession of legal personality separate from shareholders) and limited liability (shareholders are liable for the company's debts only to the value of the money they have invested in the company). Therefore, joint-stock companies are commonly known as corporations or limited companies.
Some jurisdictions still provide the possibility of registering joint-stock companies without limited liability. In the United Kingdom and other countries that have adopted its model of company law, they are known as unlimited companies. In the United States, they are known simply as joint-stock companies.
Ownership refers to a large number of privileges. The company is managed on behalf of the shareholders by a board of directors, elected at an annual general meeting.
The shareholders also vote to accept or reject an annual report and audited set of accounts. Individual shareholders can sometimes stand for directorships within the company if a vacancy occurs, but that is uncommon.
The shareholders are usually liable for any of the company debts that extend beyond the company's ability to pay up to the amount of invested by them