Registered Agent Svcs


Registered Agent Services

Overview

All corporations and LLCs and many other entity types formed at the state level are required to have a registered agent. This is a person or authorized company with a physical presence in the state who can accept service of process or other legal papers on behalf of the entity.

A registered agent is required because these entities are not "natural persons" and there is no way to hand a paper to an entity to satisfy legal service requirements other than through a designated and authorized person or company.

A registered agent is not required to have any other capacity or position with a company. An attorney will often be designated as the registered agent or a principal of the entity (officer of a corporation or member or manager of an LLC. An entity may not act as its own registered agent.

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FAQs

Can anyone act as a registered agent?

No. For a natural person, he or she must have a physical address in the state and be an adult. For a company to be able to act as a registered agent for others, it must be approved by the state and meet certain requirements.

Can I use my UPS Store as my registered agent address?

An entity must list a registered agent and the registered agent's physical address. The registered agent must regularly be at the address listed. If you are a principal of the entity, you cannot list your UPS Store or other postal service as your physical address. An employee of the UPS Store who was there regularly could be listed as the registered agent, but would be very unlikely to agree to act in this capacity.

Should I simply use my incorporation service to act as my registered agent?

If they are authorized to do so, you have this option. In fact, it is not uncommon for an online incorporation service to list itself as the first choice for your registered agent. They may even create the impression that this is the appropriate, or best, selection and offer little information about what it means to be a registered agent and what other options you have. This is done for a simple reason: you pay an annual fee that becomes an annuity to the incorporation service.

One company urges you to use its professional registered agent services because it "fully satisfies the demands placed on you and your business by the state so you can focus on the business of running your business" and lists a series of reasons to use its services. These are not necessarily inaccurate or misleading, but it is important that you understand the other options available to you.

You could save this fee by acting as the registered agent for your entity or appointing any relative, close friend, attorney, accountant, or other adult person with a physical address in the state.

Other than the cost, is there any reason not to use an incorporation service as my registered agent?

It depends on the confidence you have in your incorporation service or the company acting as your registered agent. If your company is sued, the legal papers will be handed to the designated registered agent. It then becomes the responsibility of the registered agent to promptly get those papers to you. There are short timelines for responding to most legal papers, such as a summons and complaint, and the failure of the registered agent to get these to you in a timely fashion, or at all, could result in a default judgment against you without you even knowing about the lawsuit.

If I use an incorporation service or other person other than myself, will I then be anonymous as an officer, director or member?

No. The formation document for corporations, LLCs and other state-created entities that require listing a registered agent still require a separate (generally annual) report to be filed with the state listing the officers and directors of a corporation or members and/or managers of an LLC. Listing a different person or company as the registered agent doesn't change this requirement or provide you anonymity in these other capacities.

What are the registered agent requirements if I do business in another state?

They are the same as your formation state. With rare exception in states like New York that appoint the Secretary of State to act as the registered agent, foreign qualification applications require that a registered agent be designated naming a person or authorized company in the foreign state. In this situation, you may have no option other than to use an authorized registered agent service company in that state and pay the annual fees.

What happens if I want to change my registered agent or there is an address change?

You may change the designated registered agent as often as you like. You are required to file a form with the state notifying them of the change and listing the name and address of the new registered agent, or simply a change of address for the existing registered agent. Each state determines the filing fee, if any, for filing this form.

Won't I avoid receiving a bunch of junk mail if I have someone else act as my registered agent?

Not necessarily. Most companies that regularly send junk mail solicitations are sending it to the business. They understand that a registered agent may not have any other capacity with the business and therefore most junk mail is actually sent to the principal address of the business, which may be different than the address of the registered agent.

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