Should I Be the Registered Agent for My LLC?

Although you can legally serve as your own registered agent for your LLC, should you? Using a registered agent service instead has many advantages.

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When forming a limited liability company (LLC), one of the crucial decisions is choosing a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or entity designated to receive legal notices and other important documents on behalf of the LLC. Many LLC owners wonder if they should be their own registered agent to save money or if it’s better to use a registered agent service. In this article, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of being your own registered agent and how ZenBusiness can help you stay compliant and organized.

What is a registered agent?

A registered agent is an individual or business entity designated to receive important legal documents, such as service of process and other legal notices, on behalf of a company. In some states, a registered agent is known as a resident agent, a statutory agent, or agent for service of process. The registered agent’s role is to receive these documents and forward them to the LLC’s designated point of contact. This is a requirement for LLCs in all states.

Can I be my own registered agent?

Yes, you can be your own registered agent for your LLC. However, there are a few requirements you must meet, including being a resident of the state, having a physical address in the state, and being present during all normal business hours. Additionally, you must be 18 years of age, depending on the state, and meet any other state-specific requirements.

You must be a resident of the state or authorized to do business in the state

In most states, the registered agent must be a resident of the state in which the business is registered. A company can usually serve as your registered agent if it’s authorized to do business in the state. This means that it must have a physical presence in the state, such as a business address or a registered office.

You must have a physical address in the state

As a registered agent, you must have a physical address in the state where your business is registered. This address will be used as the official address for receiving legal documents and other important notices. It’s important to note that a P.O. Box is not acceptable as a registered agent address.

You must be present during all normal business hours

As a registered agent, you must be available to receive legal documents and other important notices during all normal business hours. This means that you must be present at the registered agent address during the hours that the state considers to be normal business hours.

You must be 18 years of age (depending on the state)

Some states require that the registered agent be at least 18 years of age. However, there are some states that have a minimum age requirement of 21. You should check with your state to determine the age requirements for serving as a registered agent.

Other State-Specific Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed above, some states may have other specific requirements that you need to meet in order to serve as a registered agent. 

It’s important to carefully review the requirements in your state before deciding to serve as your own registered agent. If you don’t meet all of the requirements, you may need to consider using a registered agent service. 

Should I be my own registered agent for an LLC?

While being your own registered agent may seem like a cost-effective option for your LLC, it may not always be the best choice. Here are some reasons why you might want to reconsider:

Avoiding Embarrassment

As the registered agent, you are required to provide a physical address where a process server can deliver legal notices to you in person. If that address is your place of business, that means you could be served with notice of a lawsuit in front of clients and employees. That’s not only embarrassing, but bad for business.

Having to Constantly Be in the Office

As the registered agent, you must be present during all normal business hours in case important documents are delivered. This means that you can’t leave the office, take vacations, have a sick day, or even work from home without potentially missing a delivery. This can be difficult if you’re a busy business owner who needs to be flexible with their schedule.

You must have an agent in every state where you do business

If you operate in multiple states, you will need a registered agent in each state. This means that you’ll need to be physically present in each state during business hours or hire someone in each state to act as your registered agent. This can become costly and time-consuming.

Overall, being your own registered agent can be burdensome and potentially problematic for your LLC. Instead, consider using a registered agent service like ours, which can provide you with a professional registered agent who can handle all of the requirements for you, including keeping your legal notices private and giving you the freedom to work from wherever you need to.

Reasons to Use a Registered Agent Service

Using a registered agent service can provide numerous benefits for business owners, such as keeping legal notices private, ensuring compliance with registered agent laws, and having the freedom to leave the office without missing important legal notices. 

A registered agent service can keep your personal and business information private by receiving legal notices on your behalf away from your place of business and forwarding them to you.

Freedom to Leave the Office

A registered agent service provides the freedom to leave the office as the service will be responsible for receiving legal documents and forwarding them to you.

Ensuring Compliance with Registered Agent Laws

A registered agent service ensures that you comply with all the registered agent laws in the state by providing a registered agent who is always available and meets your state’s registered agent requirements.

Not Having to Change the Agent Address When the Business Moves

If your business moves to a new location, you won’t have to change your registered agent address if you’re using a registered agent service.

Having an Agent in Other States

If your business operates in multiple states, you’ll need to have a registered agent in each state. A registered agent service can provide this service in multiple states, ensuring that you comply with the law.

Staying Organized

A registered agent service can help you stay organized by keeping all of your legal documents in one place and ensuring that they are received and filed properly.

By using a registered agent service, you can ensure that your legal documents are handled in a timely and professional manner. ZenBusiness’s registered agent service provides all these benefits and more, ensuring that your business is in good hands.

Penalties for not having a registered agent

If your LLC doesn’t have a registered agent, you may face several penalties, including rejection of filing, fines, and even dissolution of the LLC. These penalties can be costly and can even result in the loss of your business.

Rejection of Filing

If a business fails to appoint a registered agent, the state may reject the LLC’s formation documents or other important filings, such as annual reports or changes in ownership or structure.

Fines

Failing to appoint a registered agent can also result in monetary fines. These fines can add up quickly and can be a significant burden for small businesses.

Dissolving the LLC

In extreme cases, failure to appoint a registered agent could lead to the dissolution of the LLC. This means that the LLC would no longer exist as a legal entity and its owners could be personally liable for the business’s debts and obligations.

We can help!

At ZenBusiness, we understand the importance of having a registered agent for your LLC. That’s why we offer a registered agent service. With ZenBusiness, you can ensure compliance with registered agent laws, keep your legal notices private, and avoid penalties for not having a registered agent. Plus, we make it easy to start an LLC for $0, with all the support you need to hit the ground running.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational 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.

Being Your Own Registered Agent FAQs

  • Yes, you can use yourself as a registered agent for your LLC, but it’s important to consider the potential downsides and limitations before making that decision.

  • No, a registered agent is not considered an owner of the LLC (though an owner can serve as the registered agent). Their role is to simply receive legal documents and notifications on behalf of the LLC.

  • New York is different in that, by default, the New York Secretary of State is listed as your official registered agent. But the state still gives you the option of naming your own registered agent instead. But why would you do this?

    One reason is that you may be able to save money on publishing notices to fulfill the New York publication requirement. Publication costs in some counties in and around New York City can be over $1,000, but having a registered agent listed in a county with lower advertising costs could save you money. Learn more on our New York publication requirement page.

  • Yes, you can be your own registered agent for your LLC in Texas as long as you meet the state-specific requirements, such as being a Texas resident and having a physical address in Texas. However, using a registered agent service may be more convenient and provide additional benefits.