Updated November 2, 2020:

Knowing how to become a registered agent is helpful when dealing with a limited liability company, or LLC. An LLC isn't a person, so someone needs to accept the legal subpoenas and lawsuits on behalf of the company. The registered agent is in charge of that and is sometimes called a statutory agent. Each state requires LLCs to document the registered agent's name and address in their formation documents that they file with the state.

What is a Registered Agent?

Some states require an agent to sign a document, this is to ensure a person knows they have agreed to be an agent. The LLC is in charge of making sure that the agent's address is current and accurate. The agent can be served with the document by certified or regular mail as well as in person. The agent is required to give the document to the appropriate person once they receive it, as there is only a short period of time to respond to lawsuits.

The appointed or registered agent's duties include:

  • Accepting or receiving any documents sent to the company and responding to any notice, demand, or process that the LLC gets served with.
  • Providing the notices permitted or required by law to the entity at their most current address.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is anyone who is a minimum of 18 years old and has a physical address in the state where the LLC is formed, not a P.O. box. The address is also known as the registered office and can be either a business or home address. An owner, officer, or employee can be the LLCs registered agent. However, the LLC itself cannot be its own registered agent. If the entity can't provide their own registered office and agent, service companies can provide the services of a registered agent for a fee. Your accountant or attorney might also offer this service.

The agent must be readily available at the given address during regular business hours. If the LLC is run by a couple and the husband or wife is busy with sales calls throughout the day, they cannot be the agent. However, if they're in one spot and free during the day, they meet the requirements to be the registered agent. An agent can also be in the form of a business that provides registered agent services to corporations and LLCs.

What is Required to Become a Registered Agent?

Every limited liability company and corporation is required to appoint and maintain someone to be a registered agent in the state that the company forms and in every state they're authorized to conduct business. The agent is in charge of receiving all important documents and collecting the state-issued tax materials each year. If the corporation gets sued, the process will be served to the registered agent in many cases. The agent acts to be the hands and feet of the business when it comes to processing and receiving legal papers.

There are several minimum qualifications that a company or individual must meet to become a registered agent. First of all, they must be a resident of the state in order to be the entity's registered agent. The agent needs to be free during regular business hours throughout the year to deal with any issues. If no one accepts the service of process, a lawsuit can still happen, but the company might need to forfeit their right to have a defense.

One reason companies choose another company to be their registered agent is they're available every day of the year. Every state allows certain entities, such as LLCs and corporations, to be registered agents for other companies. They will need to register with the state in order to do this. An entity that is acting as a registered agent needs to have a street address and office in the state where the business is operating during regular business hours. Most states allow foreign entities to be registered agents as well.

If you need help with finding out how to become a registered agent, 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.