A registered agent is a person designed by a company to receive important documents and communications. Such documents can include, but not are not limited to, service of process notices, government correspondence, and compliance-related documents on behalf of the company. A registered agent can be an employee or member of the company, or can be a designated third-party who is designated as such by the company.to receive these documents. Such a person is a “registered agent” because the company submits a form to the state that “registers” him or her to be your business’s agent for official communications.
A registered agent can be an individual–over 18 years of age–or a business. However, the registered agent must be located in the state where your business is registered. You are required to furnish–to the state in which your business is registered–the name and physical address of the agent. If you choose to select an individual as your resident agent, be sure that the person has agreed to take on this responsibility before designating them as such with the state.
A registered agent must maintain a published physical address to receive documents on behalf of the company they serve. This means that P.O. boxes are not acceptable and they must be available to receive documents on behalf of the company during normal business hours.
A registered agent must promptly forward all such documents to the appropriate company individual. For example, if the registered agent is served a Summons and Complaint for a lawsuit, the registered agent would promptly forward those documents to the company’s president and legal counsel.
Instead of designating a private individual to serve as your registered agent, you can hire a private registered agent service company. This is a private company in the business of serving as the registered agent for LLCs, corporations, and other businesses. Such companies must register as corporate agents for service of process with the Secretary of State of the state involved.
These firms charge an annual fee for providing this service. In return, you get the assurance that important papers sent to your business will be received and forwarded. Registered agents providing quality service can scan the documents they receive for your business and make them quickly available to you online.
Individuals can serve as registered agents only in the state where they live. So, if you register your business in more than one state, you’ll have to get someone else to serve as agent in the other state or states. You’ll avoid this problem by hiring a national service company with offices in every state. It can serve as your registered agent in any state in which you register to do business.
A business entity might at some point want to change its previously designated registered agent to another party. This is accomplished by obtaining a form from the secretary of state where the business entity is registered, completing said form, and filing it with that state office along with any requisite fees which may vary from state to state. In some cases the required form may simply be a dedicated change of registered agent form, and in other cases, an actual amendment to the articles of the business entity must be filed.
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