There are so many different decisions that need to be made when you’re completing your formation documents and starting your limited liability company (LLC). If you’re in the beginning stages of business planning, you may be wondering… Do I need a registered agent for my LLC?

Let’s dive into that question and discuss if you even need to name a registered agent. (Hint: every LLC business does!)

A registered agent’s information is available publicly, as they’ll be the one to receive any official notices or legal documents, as well as be present at the publicly listed registered agent address (known as a registered office) during regular business hours. The registered office doesn’t need to be the same as the business’s office, but it must be a physical address (not a P.O. box or something similar) within the state where the LLC was formed.

Read our guide to learn more about the differences between a registered agent and virtual address for your business.

Why do I need a registered agent?

An LLC’s registered agent is listed as part of the public record and will be in charge of receiving legal notices and official state correspondence on behalf of the LCC. It’s legally required to have a registered agent, as you’ll need to include their information while going through the LLC filing process.

Having a registered agent means that the state and anyone needing to contact the business owners (for example, a process server delivering notice of a lawsuit against the business) can  get ahold of the correct person at your LLC if necessary. The agent must be able to accept legal notices in person during normal working hours (usually 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Here’s the bottom line: LLCs must have a registered office address on file, and the registered agent listed in public documents must be at that street address during working hours.

Can I be my own registered agent?

It’s essential to have your registered LLC agent be someone you trust, so can you list yourself? It’s possible to list yourself as your LLC’s registered agent, but this can present a few problems.

While it’s legal to list yourself as the registered agent, it’s not recommended that you name yourself as the agent for your LLC if you’re not going to be at the business location during regular working hours. Even if you spend most days at the office during normal business hours, you might get ill, have to go meet a client, or take a vacation.

Who can be a registered agent?

Your registered agent should be reliable and at the listed physical location during typical business hours. While some people do name themselves as the registered agent, others will list a registered agent service during the business formation process. It’s also popular to use a business lawyer or name your business partner, as long as they can receive legal notices in person during regular business hours.

It’s essential to make sure you can easily contact your registered agent and that they can be trusted to be available to receive legal and state notices and quickly relay them to you. They’ll be listed in your business formation paperwork, so consider choosing someone dependable and having their contact on file.

Using Registered Agent Services

Choosing a registered agent service ensures that you’ll meet your state’s registered agent requirements by always having someone available at the registered office location to accept legal and other official notices in person and have them immediately forwarded to you and the other LLC owners.

A registered agent service can be listed in legal paperwork and makes the most sense if there isn’t always going to be the same person at the official physical location. 

Registered Agent Requirements

While some states have specific requirements about who can and cannot be a registered agent, the typical standard is that the individual must:

  • Be at the registered office address during working hours
  • Be able to accept legal notices and official mail in person
  • Be 18 years old (a requirement in most states, but not all)

As long as someone fulfills the requirements above, you can list them while filling out your Articles of Organization or other LLC formation documents.

Benefits of Hiring a Registered Agent

Being your own registered agent can cause problems, such as putting you in the awkward position of being notified of a lawsuit in front of customers and employees. Hiring a professional registered agent service like ours can provide the following benefits:

  • Avoiding embarrassing scenarios where you’re notified of a lawsuit in front of clients, employees, etc. Notices like these will be delivered to a registered office away from your principal business address.
  • Ability to move your office location without having to update your registered agent address with the state. Anytime your registered agent or registered office changes, you’re required to notify the state as soon as possible.
  • Freedom to leave the office, as the registered agent must be present at the office during all normal business hours.

We can help!

If you’re looking for assistance with business setup, we’re here to help. At ZenBusiness, we can provide you with registered agent services, so you can be sure that all legal requirements for your registered agent are fulfilled.

Starting a business can feel isolating, but you’re not alone. Check out our services and see if they could be the right fit for your business. We can handle the paperwork of forming a limited liability company for you. When you choose our services, you’re getting the assurance that you’re on the right track and making decisions that will set you up for success in the future.

Do I need a Registered Agent? – FAQs

  • If business entities don’t have a registered agent, their entity status is in jeopardy. Large business issues can arise as a result of not naming a registered agent, such as the government completely shutting down your business. It’s essential to have a registered agent listed in the public record, and there could be significant financial consequences if you don’t. Registered agents are an ongoing requirement that you’ll need in order to maintain your business status.

  • Yes, having a registered agent is required in Delaware. You’ll need to have a registered office address and ensure that the registered agent you list is at that physical address during normal business hours. Business compliance in Delaware will require you to name a registered agent, so you should already have a name in mind before filling out your business records.

  • You should hire a registered agent service before you file your Articles of Organization or other LLC formation documents. By doing it in this order, you’ll be able to write down their information when you’re filling out the necessary paperwork.

  • Most states will require you to provide the personal addresses of the LLC owners as well as the principal business address. You’ll also be required to list the registered office address. 

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness