If you form a business entity such as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), you need to have a registered agent. There are several ways you can comply with this legal requirement.
When forming an LLC, it is state requirement that you to designate a Registered Agent.
This is how the US court and legal system works. If somebody wants to sue a company, there needs to be reliable person (or company) and a reliable street address where court documents, such as a subpoena, summons, petition, or complaint, can be served.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is someone whom you designate to receive official papers for your business. These include court papers if your business is sued (what lawyers call “service of process”), business registration renewal notices from the Secretary of State, and tax notices.
Such a person is called a “registered” agent because you submit a form to the state that “registers” him, her, or it to be your business’s agent for official communications.
Do I Need a Registered Agent?
You need a registered agent in each state where you are registered to do business with the secretary of state or similar state official. As a rule, this means any state in which you’ve registered a:
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Limited Partnership, or
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).
None of these business entities can serve as their own agent to accept legal papers. They must appoint a third party to serve as agent.
If you’re just starting a registered business, such as an LLC or corporation, you must designate your initial registered agent as part of your articles of organization (for an LLC) or articles of incorporation (for a corporation). These forms—which have different names in some states—are available for download directly from websites maintained by each state’s Secretary of State or equivalent office.
If you already have a registered business in a particular state, but need to update information about your registered agent, there typically is a downloadable form available from the Secretary of State that you will use to provide that updated information to the state.
Who Can Be Your LLC’s Registered Agent?
You have 3 options for designating your LLC’s Registered Agent:
Option 1: You can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 3: You can hire a Commercial Registered Agent for a fee. Which is the best LLC service for you? Read on to find out.
Note: There are a couple states that allow your LLC to serve as its own Registered Agent, but this is the exception to the rule. In 90% of the states your LLC cannot be its own Registered Agent.
What Are The Registered Agent Requirements?
The laws regarding Registered Agent requirements vary by state, but in the vast majority of states, the following hold true:
• If the LLC’s Registered Agent is a person, that person must be a resident of the state where your forming your LLC, be at least 18 years of age, have a street address located in the state where your forming your LLC, and be available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.
• If the LLC’s Registered Agent is a company, that company needs to be registered to do business in the state in which you are forming your LLC.
• The Registered Agent must have an actual street address. Post Office (PO) boxes are not allowed.
What this means is that if you are forming an LLC, you, or someone you know, can serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent. Some states require a written and signed consent form (known as a Registered Agent Consent to Appointment, or similar name) be on file with the Secretary of State’s office. Remember, you (or they) must be a resident of the state where you are forming an LLC, and have a street address where you are available (or they are available) during normal business hours.
If you don’t have an address located in the state where you are forming an LLC, or if your state offers privacy by designating someone besides yourself as the LLC’s Registered Agent, then we recommend you hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
Which is the best Registered Agent service for you? Click here for more information.