A North Dakota registered agent acts on behalf of a company to accept its legal mail. This person can also represent the business during a legal case if the company is sued. When a registered agent doesn't get documents to the company in a timely manner, this can have negative consequences. This is why it is very important for a business to be particular when choosing a registered agent to represent them.

What Is a Service of Process?

When one party gives legal notice to another party, this is known as a service of process. It usually works as follows:

  • A process server will walk into a company and hand a person a legal document. At this point, the paperwork is signed for. Whoever served the document, such as a sheriff or a third party, will then let the court know through an affidavit that the paperwork was served.
  • The paperwork must be given to a registered agent in order for the service of process to be considered legal; this ensures the company is going to receive the paperwork in a timely manner. This registered agent is appointed when the business is formed.

In the state of North Dakota, every business must have a registered agent. It also must have a registered office in the state. If you don't have a registered agent, your application to register your business in North Dakota will be denied. The point of having a registered agent is so the government will have a point of contact in the event that you are sued or have a lawsuit brought against you. It's also important because it ensures any legal documents can be delivered to you.

In the state, a registered agent may do the following on behalf of the business he or she is representing:

  • Receive documents.
  • Provide notices.
  • Keep your business information up to date with the government entities to ensure he or she can be reached at all times.

Normally, any documents that are delivered to a registered agent will be hand-delivered by a third party of some type, such as a sheriff. The third party will look up the company's registered agent's information, such as their address, and then use this information to deliver the legal paperwork.

In North Dakota, your business can choose an individual person or another company to serve as your registered agent. If you choose to hire a company to be your registered agent, this company must provide professional registered agent services. It will have to have a registered office, and it must be able to accept legal documents on your behalf during normal business hours, which are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What Is the Difference Between a Commercial Registered Agent and a Noncommercial Registered Agent?

It is important to understand that there is a difference in the state of North Dakota between a noncommercial registered agent and a commercial registered agent. If you opt for a commercial registered agent, this means you are appointing a company to be your agent, and this company specializes in receiving documents on your behalf. The average fee that you will have to pay to appoint a commercial registered agent is between $100 to $300. This fee must is typically paid on an annual basis.

How to Find a North Dakota Registered Agent

You can look at the State's official list of commercial registered agents if this is the type you want to appoint. If you want a noncommercial agent, you will have to find one on your own because they do not register with the state. One of the advantages of appointing a commercial registered agent is because the company can keep you up to date on the latest filings you need to make as a limited liability company; this, of course, is only of benefit if you are a limited liability company.

Is It Easy to Change to a Different Registered Agent?

If you choose to change who your registered agent is, you can. However, you will have to file the appropriate paperwork, and you will have to pay a fee.

If you need help with finding and choosing a North Dakota 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, Stripe, and Twilio.