Appointing someone to represent your business organization in the courts of law and taking care of legal matters, while you have the peace of mind to invest your time and effort in your business is undoubtedly a smart way to go about things.
That is what a registered agent does – takes the hassle away from you and other LLC members as far as court representation and receiving legal matters is concerned.
In this guide, we will talk about the role, the benefits and the eligibility requirements for a registered agent. And remember to follow entitysearch.org if you want to find the best registered agents in each state of the United States to start your LLC.
What is a Registered Agent?
In the simplest of definitions, a registered agent is an individual or an institution that represents your business in a court and handles legal matters on behalf of your business. This includes receiving legal documents (service of process), maintaining corporate compliance and filing paperwork with the state.
What is Service or Process?
When there is an ongoing or a pending court case against someone, the action of letting them know about it is called service of process. In the context of an LLC, a registered agent accepts service of process on behalf of the company.
Why Do You Need a Registered Agent?
Whether you form an LLC, a corporation or any other legal business entity, you need to appoint a registered agent to run a business in the United States. Most states have made this as a mandatory step while registering your business.
Designating a registered agent is usually one of the first steps that most business owners or entrepreneurs take while forming an LLC. Additionally, a registered agent ensures that your LLC is complying to all basic corporate or legal procedures right from the word go. Any missed step or action could land you in trouble with the state in terms of penalties or fines.
Core Responsibilities of a Registered Agent
In short, this is what a registered agent will do for or on behalf of your LLC:
- Accept legal documents
- File tax forms
- Be the point of contact between the LLC and the court
- Accept service of process
Who Can Be Your Registered Agent?
Below are the few basic requirements that makes someone eligible to be a registered agent for an LLC:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have a valid street address in the state where your LLC is based in
- Must be available for contact or meeting in person during working hours
If an individual meets the aforementioned requirements, he or she can be appointed as a registered agent for your LLC.
Can You Designate Yourself as your LLC’s Registered Agent?
Yes, as far as you meet the basic eligibility requirements, you can appoint yourself as the registered agent for your LLC, too. Moreover, you can designate a family member, a friend or a member from your LLC.
So basically it can be anyone whom you trust to be your LLC’s registered agent.
Third-Party Registered Agent Service
As the owner of your LLC, you also have the option to use the services of a third-party registered agent service individual or an organization.
These third-party services can be an affordable and a smart way to take your hassle away and let you focus on your business. If you are able to find a good third-party service for this, you will benefit from it in the following ways:
- Take your hassle away
- Lets you prioritize your focus on the business
- More flexibility
However, you should be aware of the fact that these services come at a cost. Even if you find an affordable option, you will still have to incur an additional expense on a regular basis.
How to Change a Registered Agent?
If you wish to replace your existing registered agent with a new one, you might have to submit a consent application signed by the new registered agent. However, this step might vary from one state to another.
As far as the cost is concerned, you might have to pay a filing fee of around $50. This number can change depending on how many states you are legally allowed to run your business in.
What is the role of a registered agent?
The primary role of a registered agent is to accept legal documents on behalf of an LLC and correspond with the court in the event of a lawsuit filed against the business.
Can I start a business without a registered agent?
Most US states have made it mandatory for LLCs to appoint a registered agent before they can officially start with their business activities.
What are the requirements to be a registered agent?
You have to be 18 years or above, must have a valid street address in the state where your business is based in and you must be available during business hours for contact or an in-person meeting.
How much do I have to pay?
The basic filing cost of a registered agent might vary from one state to another. In some states, it is free – while in other states it might cost you a few hundred bucks. If you are hiring a third-party registered agent service, it might cost you slightly more.
What is the best-registered agent service on the market?
According to several reviews, the top registered agent services out there are as below.
- Northwest Registered Agent.
- Harbor Compliance.
Interesting Related Article: “Starting Your Own LLC Business: A Step By Step Guide“