One of the requirements for starting an LLC is to have a registered agent listed on your formation documents.
What is a registered agent?
A registered agent is the person/entity designated by a company to receive official documents, like legal papers, on behalf of a company and is required for all businesses. The registered agent has to be physically located in the state where the business is registered.
While you can generally use a PO Box for a mailing address for your business, the registered agent has to be a physical address located in the state. Not only does it have to be an actual address, there needs to be an adult at that location who can accept the legal papers. This doesn’t mean someone has to be available 24 hours a day, but the registered agent address should generally have someone available.
what do they do?
The registered agent is listed with the state’s business records so that if someone needs to contact your business in an official capacity, an address is easily discoverable. The registered agent’s ‘job’ is to make sure those important documents are placed in the hands of the person who needs to handle them.
It’s also possible that your registered agent will never “do” anything. If you have a separate mailing address and don’t ever have occasion to receive legal or other important documents, then your registered agent just serves as a physical location to send those, if necessary. Just serving as a registered agent for a business gives no ownership or other rights or employment with the business.
Who should be yours?
Some states may have different rules on who exactly can serve as a registered agent, but generally speaking, you can serve as your own registered agent or have some third-party serve as your registered agent.
Serving as your own registered agent
Many small businesses choose to serve as their own registered agent to avoid the expense of hiring a company to do it for you. As long as your state allows and you are generally available to receive service at that address, then serving as your own registered agent is a viable option.
If you do choose to serve as your own registered agent and you are doing so with your home address, just keep in mind that the registered agent is publicly available so that means your home address will be listed with your business records.
hiring a corporate registered agent
If you don’t want to serve as your own registered agent, there are several companies in all states who will serve as a corporate registered agent. This means you pay a fee, usually annually, and the company will let you list their address as your registered agent and will have someone available to receive mail on behalf of your company. If you receive any important documents, they make sure to get them to you. These services are usually around $100/year.
When you’re ready to start your LLC, you’re going to need to decide who is going to serve as your registered agent. This article explained what that means and what your options are.
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