What Is a Registered Agent?


A registered agent is someone that a business designates to receive lawsuits and government notices. They must be an individual resident in the state of registration or a domestic or foreign corporation authorized to do business in the state.

Most states require formal business entities like LLCs and corporations to designate a registered agent when they file their business registration paperwork. However, sole proprietorships and general partnerships don’t need to do so.

What Is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is the person or business that a company designates to receive legal and official mail (what lawyers call “service of process”) on its behalf. A registered agent can be an individual, a corporation or an LLC. If an individual, he or she must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the state of registration. If a business, it must be registered to do business in the state and authorized to do so by the Secretary of State.

Many states require that domestic and foreign corporations, LLCs and other business entities register their agents with the state. Failing to do so can result in fines for noncompliance. While some businesses choose to designate themselves or someone within their business as their own registered agent, this can be risky because the person’s name and address will become part of the public record filed with the state, jeopardizing privacy. Instead, you can trust a professional registered agent service like CorpNet.

How Does a Registered Agent Help My Business?

A registered agent is an important part of any business. Without one, your business could lose access to a reliable way to receive legal documents and important compliance notices.

While you can name yourself, an owner or employee, or a trusted friend or family member as your registered agent (although the address must be a public one), a professional service company is often the best option for businesses. It’s more convenient and cost-effective to have a company whose sole job is to receive documents and pass them on to you promptly, rather than trying to remember to update the information on your own.

A national registered agent services provider can also help if your business registers to do business in multiple states, as they’ll be able to act as your agent in each location. This makes it easier to keep track of your compliance filings and deadlines. Many of these companies also offer services such as creating a compliance calendar for your business.

What Are the Requirements for a Registered Agent?

A person or business can serve as a registered agent, but the task is time-consuming and requires diligence. Most businesses choose to hire a professional registered agent service to ensure that all official correspondence is promptly relayed to them. Choosing a service that offers national coverage is also helpful for those who plan on scaling their business to multiple states, as it eliminates the need to change agents with each new state where they do business.

A registered agent must be available during business hours to receive legal documents and government notices on behalf of a company. They must have a physical address in the state where the company is organized or conducts business, and they must be able to accept documents such as subpoenas, summonses, lawsuits, and compliance notifications. A professional registered agent, such as CT Corporation, specializes in this area of law and can be trusted to quickly relay any important documents to clients.

How Can I Find a Registered Agent?

A registered agent can be an individual or a company that is registered to do business in your state. You can also hire a national service that offers registered agent services in all states where your business is registered to do business. These companies are often less expensive than local registered agents and can offer you the convenience of having a single company to deal with for all your registered agent services, particularly as your business expands into multiple states.

You can also designate yourself or an employee as your registered agent, but this has the potential to jeopardize your privacy and isn’t always practical, especially if you work from home. Instead, consider a registered agent service that will be available to receive legal papers and official correspondence on your behalf and promptly forward them to you. Many of these services also offer additional business services to help you keep your compliance on track.

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