Contact us whenever you need it!

+1 855 997 0206

Contact hours: Mon-Fri 8am - 10pm ET

LEGAL DICTIONARY

Registered Agent

What Is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is a person or an entity that a business appoints to accept legal documents on its behalf. Many states require each limited liability company (LLC), limited liability partnership (LLP), and corporation to designate or “register” an agent in the articles of incorporation that they file with the Secretary of State or other government agency.

This figure is also known as a statutory agent or a resident agent, a registered agent can be an officer or member of your company, your lawyer, your spouse, a trusted friend or colleague, or a professional service.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Registered Agent?

A registered agent helps your business stay up to date on legal compliance issues by accepting, informing, and reminding you of legal issues. Having a registered agent allows you to resolve any potential problems or take appropriate action in a timely manner.

A registered agent handles the following paperwork:

  • Tax forms
  • Legal documents
  • Government correspondence (such as an annual report)
  • Summons (Service of Process)
  • Notice of a lawsuit

What Are the Requirements for Someone Serving as a Registered Agent?

Someone who has a single-member LLC can be their own registered agent. A business also can designate another individual to serve in this capacity as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Is 18 or older
  • Has a physical address in the same state where the business is formed
  • Is available at that address during standard business hours

Most small businesses with 10 or fewer employees use individual registered agents to save money on fees. These fees typically range from $200 to $400 per year. However, using an individual as your registered agent may have a few drawbacks, including:

  • Your agent must keep their address current with the Secretary of State to prevent a missed delivery of important documents.
  • This individual agent must be available in person to accept papers during standard business hours (usually considered as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) all year round.

Although you or someone else in your business can serve as your registered agent, there are some advantages to hiring a third-party agent service. These advantages include:

  • Privacy: The registered agent’s physical address is listed on the public record, not your personal address or the company address. This level of privacy can be important if you work out of your home. Another benefit is that you will not be served a summons in front of your customers or clients when you have a professional service.
  • Flexibility: A registered agent must be available in person during weekday business hours. If you have a registered agent service, you can be more flexible with your work hours and when you are available.
  • Location: Hiring a national registered agent service allows you to form an LLC in any state. Otherwise, you must appoint an agent with legal residence in each state.
  • Focus: With a professional service, you can focus on your business and not have to worry about keeping up with legal correspondence. You also will receive less unsolicited mail.

What Happens If You Do Not Name a Registered Agent or If The Agent’s Address Is Not Current?

Although you are required to name an agent when you complete documents for a new LLC, that person or the address is likely to change as time goes on. Although it may be easy to let these changes slip by without notice, it is critical that you keep your agent and their address up to date by filing a form indicating any changes.

Here are potential consequences if you do not take these steps:

  • Your business will miss important correspondence.
  • Your business could lose its ability to enter into contracts.
  • Your business could lose critical time to prepare when faced with a lawsuit.
  • Your business could face penalties and fines for compliance issues.

While the function of a registered agent is straightforward, it is critical to your business. Having a registered agent can give you valuable peace of mind.

Download your Free LLC Operating Agreement Template now.

Helpful Resources:

Nolo - What is a Registered Agent?

TRUiC - What is a Registered Agent?

LegalZoom - What is a Registered Agent?

Texas Secretary of State - Registered Agents

NerdWallet - What Is a Registered Agent, and Does Your Business Need One?

What Is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is a person or an entity that a business appoints to accept legal documents on its behalf. Many states require each limited liability company (LLC), limited liability partnership (LLP), and corporation to designate or “register” an agent in the articles of incorporation that they file with the Secretary of State or other government agency.

This figure is also known as a statutory agent or a resident agent, a registered agent can be an officer or member of your company, your lawyer, your spouse, a trusted friend or colleague, or a professional service.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Registered Agent?

A registered agent helps your business stay up to date on legal compliance issues by accepting, informing, and reminding you of legal issues. Having a registered agent allows you to resolve any potential problems or take appropriate action in a timely manner.

A registered agent handles the following paperwork:

  • Tax forms
  • Legal documents
  • Government correspondence (such as an annual report)
  • Summons (Service of Process)
  • Notice of a lawsuit

What Are the Requirements for Someone Serving as a Registered Agent?

Someone who has a single-member LLC can be their own registered agent. A business also can designate another individual to serve in this capacity as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Is 18 or older
  • Has a physical address in the same state where the business is formed
  • Is available at that address during standard business hours

Most small businesses with 10 or fewer employees use individual registered agents to save money on fees. These fees typically range from $200 to $400 per year. However, using an individual as your registered agent may have a few drawbacks, including:

  • Your agent must keep their address current with the Secretary of State to prevent a missed delivery of important documents.
  • This individual agent must be available in person to accept papers during standard business hours (usually considered as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) all year round.

Although you or someone else in your business can serve as your registered agent, there are some advantages to hiring a third-party agent service. These advantages include:

  • Privacy: The registered agent’s physical address is listed on the public record, not your personal address or the company address. This level of privacy can be important if you work out of your home. Another benefit is that you will not be served a summons in front of your customers or clients when you have a professional service.
  • Flexibility: A registered agent must be available in person during weekday business hours. If you have a registered agent service, you can be more flexible with your work hours and when you are available.
  • Location: Hiring a national registered agent service allows you to form an LLC in any state. Otherwise, you must appoint an agent with legal residence in each state.
  • Focus: With a professional service, you can focus on your business and not have to worry about keeping up with legal correspondence. You also will receive less unsolicited mail.

What Happens If You Do Not Name a Registered Agent or If The Agent’s Address Is Not Current?

Although you are required to name an agent when you complete documents for a new LLC, that person or the address is likely to change as time goes on. Although it may be easy to let these changes slip by without notice, it is critical that you keep your agent and their address up to date by filing a form indicating any changes.

Here are potential consequences if you do not take these steps:

  • Your business will miss important correspondence.
  • Your business could lose its ability to enter into contracts.
  • Your business could lose critical time to prepare when faced with a lawsuit.
  • Your business could face penalties and fines for compliance issues.

While the function of a registered agent is straightforward, it is critical to your business. Having a registered agent can give you valuable peace of mind.

Download your Free LLC Operating Agreement Template now.

Helpful Resources:

Nolo - What is a Registered Agent?

TRUiC - What is a Registered Agent?

LegalZoom - What is a Registered Agent?

Texas Secretary of State - Registered Agents

NerdWallet - What Is a Registered Agent, and Does Your Business Need One?