A Montana registered agent is an individual or company that accepts legal mail, documents, and Service of Process for a business in Montana. Alternate names for a registered agent include resident agent, statutory agent, and agent for Service of Process. 

Registered Agents in Montana

Before you can operate an LLC in Montana, you have to designate a registered agent for your business. In the event your business is sued, a registered agent will be responsible for accepting legal mail for your company and forwarding it to you. This agent acts as a general point of contact for receiving other documents as well, including business notices, payment reminders, and tax notices.

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and corporations in Montana are prohibited by state law from acting as their own registered agents. You'll list your registered agent on your formation documents, such as an Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation.

Agents must have a physical street address in the state. They cannot use a P.O. box as an office address. Agents must be available during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in the event of Service of Process, which includes the delivery of the following documents: 

  • Subpoenas 
  • Summons 
  • Complaints

The Montana Secretary of State will reject your business filing if you don't designate a registered agent.

Montana has unique requirements for registered agents. By state law, agents are required to forward annual reports to the business entity. They must also forward any official communication or notices from the state. Typically, this isn't a legal requirement, but in Montana, it is.

Who Can Be Your Registered Agent?

You have a few options when appointing a registered agent for your LLC:

  • You can be your own registered agent. 
  • You can appoint a family member or friend to act as your company's registered agent. 
  • You can hire a commercial resident agent.

Any individual chosen as a registered agent must be a resident of Montana. You can act as your company's registered agent as long as you have a physical street address in Montana. It can be a home or office address, but you must be at the address during regular business hours.

If you don't have a physical address in the state, you can use the address of a family member or friend who has an address in Montana. Again, they must be available during normal business hours to receive legal mail and Service of Process.

If neither you nor anyone you know has a physical street address in the state, you can hire a commercial registered agent. Even if you have (or can use) an address in Montana, you might choose to hire a commercial agent for various reasons.

Risks Associated With Acting as Your Own Registered Agent

If you, a family member, or friend act as your registered agent, there can be some risks involved if the agent isn't available during the course of a normal business day. If the state cannot reach your registered agent, your company can lose its good standing status. The state can also dissolve your LLC as a result.

A process server generally tries to reach an LLC's registered agent a few times. If the agent isn't available to receive documents about a lawsuit affecting your LLC, you might not be aware of it. The court case may then proceed in your absence. If you're not present to defend your company, the court can place a judgment against it.

Reasons a process server might not be able to reach a company's registered agent include the following: 

  • You, your family member, or your friend weren't at the listed agent address during regular business hours. 
  • You, or they, were on vacation. 
  • You moved and failed to file a Change of Registered Agent.

You might want to hire a commercial agent, because it's sometimes more reliable to have a professional or company fill the role. Plus, you have more freedom (to leave the office, take vacations, etc.) and you won't have to file a Change of Registered Agent if you move.

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of being your own registered agent (or choosing a family member or friend) versus hiring a commercial agent. It's very important that you receive legal paperwork in a timely manner, so give some thought to designating this role.

If you need more information on registered agents in Montana or another state, 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, Stripe, and Twilio.