1. What is an Illinois Registered Agent? 
2. Which Types of Businesses Must Have a Registered Agent?
3. Choosing a Registered Agent 
4. Choosing the Right Registered Agent for Your Business Entity

What is an Illinois Registered Agent

An Illinois registered agent, also called a resident agent or statutory agent in other states, is a person or company that agrees to accept legal mail and documents on behalf of a company that's registered to do business in Illinois. You must choose a registered agent before you're able to file your company's Articles of Organization with the state. Having a registered agent is important so that the state is able to contact all businesses registered in Illinois. This is state law.

A registered agent may be a person or another business entity. You might want to choose a professional, or commercial, registered agent because it comes with certain benefits.

When you file your initial paperwork with the state, you'll list the name and address of your chosen registered agent. There are some restrictions on who can act as a registered agent. Any entity or person you choose for the position must have a physical street address in Illinois and be present and available at this location during typical business hours. A registered agent's location cannot be a post office box.

The duty of a registered agent is to accept any of the following on behalf of a company: 

If your company is involved in a lawsuit or other legal proceeding, a process server will deliver the necessary legal papers to your company's resident agent at the agent's address. A registered agent must be available at the physical location on record during the course of a normal business day. Their responsibilities include accepting, receiving, and forwarding any notices, demands, or process to the entity that they're acting on behalf of.

A registered agent also serves as a general point of contact for receiving the following: 

  • Payment reminders
  • Business notices
  • Tax notices
  • Other documents

In the event a Service of Process arrives, a registered agent is expected to be available between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a business day to receive it. A typical Service of Process may include documents such as: 

  • Summons
  • Complaints
  • Subpoenas

These legal documents are typically sent by certified mail. This is legal proof that a business entity has been served and that the registered agent received them at the registered address. This proof of delivery stands, whether or not a business owner gets the documents.

Which Types of Businesses Must Have a Registered Agent?

The following types of business entities are required to have a domestic agent: 

Choosing a Registered Agent 

You have a few options in appointing a registered agent:

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

Any individual who acts as a registered agent must be a resident of the state.

Choosing the Right Registered Agent for Your Business Entity

You can be your business entity's registered agent as long as you have a physical street address in Illinois and you're available during regular business hours. If you don't have a physical street address in the state, you can appoint a family member or friend to act as your agent. They must have a street address in the state and be available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In some cases, you'll have to hire a commercial resident agent. If neither you nor a family member or friend has a physical street address in the state or you can't use the address of a family member or friend (or simply prefer not to), hiring a commercial agent is another option. Having a commercial agent offers benefits such as giving you more privacy. It's also a more reliable setup.

Receiving legal documents in a timely manner is very important, so choose wisely when selecting a registered agent. While it's easy to appoint yourself, it comes with certain drawbacks, including a lack of privacy (particularly if your residential address is the registered agent office address) and less freedom to come and go during the business day. Hiring a commercial agent ensures you receive necessary legal paperwork while giving you more freedom and privacy.

If you need help with a registered agent in Illinois 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, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.