1. Registered Agent Requirements
2. What To Look For in a Registered Agent
3. How To Change Registered Agents

A Michigan registered agent is a person, limited liability company, or corporation who you appoint to receive service of process and other official and legal documents on behalf of your business entity. This means that, if your business is sued, you will receive legal notice through process served to the registered agent. Having a registered agent is required by the state so that an official method for contacting your business successfully is on record.

Registered Agent Requirements

The registered agent must have a physical street address or business location in Michigan. When you form a legal business entity, you must include this person's name and address in your official organizing documents. If you hire a professional registered agent service, they must have authority to do business in Michigan.

A limited liability company owner can serve as the registered agent for the LLC if he or she has a Michigan street address. This cannot be a post office box or commercial mailbox service. You can also appoint a friend or family member that meets this criterion. Make sure he or she is typically available during regular business hours and doesn't mind having the home address in question listed in the public record.

Many choose to hire a commercial registered agent. This prevents personal home addresses of individuals from being listed in the public record, available to anyone with the ability to do a Google search. As other public records sites pick up this information, it will quickly be spread across the internet, creating a serious privacy and safety concern. This is a particularly important consideration for Michigan residents who start home-based businesses.

If you plan to act as your own registered agent, keep in mind that you are generally expected to be at the location listed during regular business hours. If you frequently travel for work or prefer to keep a flexible schedule, your best bet is probably to hire a registered agent service.

What To Look For in a Registered Agent

When you hire a company to serve as your registered agent, you should make sure it offers the following attributes:

  • Immediate online access to your documents through a secure account
  • A physical office location where you can view and scan your documents
  • Knowledgeable, professional customer service
  • Discreet receipt of process service, deliveries, and lawsuit notices
  • Business contact information publicly listed in the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) - Corporations Division
  • Confidential protection for your personal information

If you choose a registered agent that does not fulfill his or her duties, the costs for your business can be dire. Legal actions against your business could proceed without your knowledge, likely resulting in a default judgment from the court. The state can also dissolve your business if you fail to respond to official documents, if your registered agent does not respond to attempts to contact him or her, or if you fail to maintain the name and address of a qualified registered agent on file.

Hiring a professional provides invaluable peace of mind. It also ensures that you are in compliance with statutory requirements. Michigan businesses can expect to pay an average of about $125 annually to hire a registered agent service.

How To Change Registered Agents

If you want to appoint a new registered agent, get that individual or company's approval before filing the change with the state. You'll need to complete the state's Certificate of Change of Registered Office, which, in Michigan, can be filed either by mail or in person. This form carries a $5 fee and is processed within three to five business days. If you have a professional registered agent service and want to change the address on file, they will handle this service on your behalf.

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