1. What Is a Registered Agent?
2. Who Can Be an Agent?
3. Should Your Spouse Be Your Registered Agent?

If you're asking, “Can I be my own registered agent for my LLC?”, the short answer is “Yes,” but you should carefully consider if that's the best move for your business. In many cases, business owners find it more convenient to hire a person or company to act as a registered agent. It gives them peace of mind knowing that someone reliable is receiving important notices. In addition, business owners gain more freedom to come and go. 

What Is a Registered Agent?

A person or company can act as a registered agent, which agrees to receive important documents on another company's behalf. The types of notices a registered agent may receive include the following: 

  • Service of process 
  • Notices about federal and state taxes 
  • State correspondence

Anyone can act as a registered agent, including the business owner, a business employee, or an outside third party, as long as he or she meets certain requirements.

All LLCs must provide their registered agent's name and address to the state when they file their formation documents. Some states require registered agents to sign a document stating that they agree to fill this role. The LLC is responsible for ensuring the agent's address is accurately on file.

If your company does business out of state, it's especially important to have a reliable registered agent (for example, your company is located in Florida, but it also provides services or goods in Georgia).

Having a registered agent is a way to be sure all businesses can be contacted for legal purposes.

A lot of companies choose to hire a service to act as the agent, and these businesses receive service of process and notices for other businesses. These service firms stick to specific procedures in order to keep track of everything they receive on behalf of a company and to make sure it notifies the company and/or delivers items quickly.

You might think it's easier and less expensive to act as your company's registered agent, but there are several reasons you shouldn't go that route.

Who Can Be an Agent?

In most cases, a registered agent can be anyone who is 18 years old or older and has a physical address in the state in which the company does business. The address can't be a P.O. box. The address may be known as the registered office. It can be a business or home address.

For example, if the LLC is in New York and the business owner's wife works at home in their Brooklyn residence, she can be the company's registered agent. However, if the owner's home is in the suburbs of New Jersey, his wife can't act as the agent because she has no physical address in New York.

In addition, an agent must be available during normal business hours at the registered address. Someone who's in and out of the office on sales calls all day can't be an agent. If a person is primarily in one place during normal business hours, he or she may act as an agent. 

An agent doesn't have to be a person; it can be a business that offers registered agent services to other businesses.

The rules concerning registered agents may vary from one state to another. You should consult with your state office that maintains business filings for exact rules.

Should Your Spouse Be Your Registered Agent?

If your husband or wife meets all legal requirements to act as your company's registered agent, you should consider some factors before assigning your spouse to the role.

In the event someone sues your business, do you believe your spouse will notify you immediately? Some people are extremely organized and efficiently manage finances, schedules, and household tasks. If this describes your spouse, that's great. However, if he or she routinely forgets to pay bills, you'd probably do better to choose someone else as your agent.

The easiest and most convenient choice isn't always the best choice, especially when it comes to something as important as choosing a registered agent. The person or company you choose has to be reliable, to ensure you receive all important notices and documents in a timely manner.

If you need help with or more information about registered agents, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.