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Registered Agent Service

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How To Find a Registered Agent for an LLC—Explained

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Your business must appoint a registered agent to receive documents in legal matters, including notice of lawsuit. Our reliable registered agent service fulfills this requirement. You get:

  • Same-day documents from our local offices in all 50 states.
  • Immediate online access to state forms with our address and, where required, our signature
  • Annual fees from $89Multi-Year Discount to $99 /year per state with no additional charges
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A registered agent for an LLC serves as your company's official point of contact, receiving and forwarding legal and official correspondence on your behalf. Without designating one in your Articles of Organization, you may be denied a certificate of authority.

Finding a registered agent might seem straightforward, but it's more than picking a name. The agent plays a vital role in ensuring your LLC meets statutory requirements, so you should pick the most reliable option.

This guide will explain how to find a registered agent for an LLC, including what factors to consider and which options are better than others. We'll also introduce Harbor Compliance—one of the leading registered agent service providers that can ensure all your correspondence is delivered swiftly.

Why You Need a Registered Agent for Your LLC

Appointing a registered agent during LLC formation is a mandatory legal requirement in nearly all U.S. states and territories. Maintaining the agent ensures there's an open line of communication between your company and the secretary of state, allowing you to stay informed about legal actions and other correspondence.

The Duties of a Registered Agent

A registered agent's primary duty is to receive legal correspondence, including subpoenas, summons, and notifications, on behalf of your business. The role is vital in ensuring your business operates within the confines of the law.

Depending on your business needs, your agent may provide additional services, such as:

  • Reminding you about legal deadlines to ensure you meet statutory requirements
  • Keeping updated records of all received documents and actions taken
  • Serving as the public face of your company, protecting your privacy
  • Offering legal guidance based on their expertise and experience

Who Can Serve as a Registered Agent for Your LLC?

In general, you have two main options when appointing an agent for your company:

  1. An individual who has attained the legal age—You can appoint a friend, family member, someone within your organization, or even yourself.
  2. A commercial service provider—This can be a domestic or foreign entity licensed to operate in the state.

To perform their role effectively, your registered agent must have a physical address in the state where your business operates. They must also be available in the registered office during regular business hours, ensuring they can promptly receive and forward important documents so you don't miss a notice.

The specific requirements vary, depending on the state's laws and your business needs.

Appointing Yourself as a Registered Agent for Your LLC—Pros and Cons

Appointing yourself as your resident agent comes with advantages and downsides, which you should consider beforehand.

The pros of serving as your own registered agent:

  • Cost savings—Acting as your own agent can save on fees associated with hiring a professional service.
  • Direct control—You have direct control over the handling of your legal documents.
  • No extra paperwork—You won't need to file additional paperwork, such as a consent form, to appoint a registered agent.

While appointing yourself may seem like an easy choice because of the convenience, it carries more risks and is typically not recommended. The downsides of this option include:

  • Limited availability—A registered agent must be constantly available during regular business hours, which can be hindered by illness, travel, or emergencies.
  • Loss of privacy—Your address becomes a public record, which can lead to various issues, from attracting junk mail to risking being served in front of family and friends or your employees and clients.
  • Travel limitations—If you appoint yourself, you might have to forego important business trips to avoid missing crucial notifications.
  • Higher risk of penalization—Limited flexibility increases the risk of missing a legal document or deadline, which can result in fines or administrative dissolution of your LLC.

How To Find a Registered Agent—Factors To Consider

Before appointing a registered agent, you should conduct due diligence to determine whether they can meet your organization's needs. Learn about the essential factors to consider in the table below:

Factors Explanation
Reliability An agent should be constantly available at their registered office during business hours to receive official correspondence.
Experience and expertise An experienced agent understands the various regulatory requirements and can help you expedite business formation or foreign qualification.
Confidentiality in communication A registered agent should ensure sensitive information is securely handled and forwarded.
Security of legal documents An agent should have secure systems in place to keep received information secure, ensuring only you can access it.
Capacity to offer multiple services An experienced agent may offer additional services, helping you with other aspects of leading an organization.
Multistate presence If your organization is registered in multiple states, consider an agent with offices in those jurisdictions for consistency and efficiency.

Finding a registered agent for an LLC that meets all of the criteria is not an easy feat. If you need a reliable and trustworthy partner, Harbor Compliance can be the right option for you.

Comprehensive Registered Agent Service by Harbor Compliance

Harbor Compliance offers a Registered Agent Service that's more than just a solution—it's a partnership. Our approach is as follows:

  1. Your official mail is delivered to our local office in your state.
  2. We process and electronically dispatch the correspondence to you on the same day.
  3. You receive an email containing the link to our secure Client Portal, where you can view the notice away from prying eyes.
  4. We'll also give you a phone call to ensure you're aware of legal notices.

Our Client Portal is not just a place to view notices—you can find the addresses of our local offices and pre-filled state forms.

Additional Solutions To Help You Meet Obligations

With Harbor Compliance, you're not just appointing a registered agent—you're choosing a dedicated ally to help you stay on top of other legal obligations. The table below lists some of our additional solutions:

Category Services
Business lifecycle support
Expedited document management
Ownership and leadership tracking
Tax-related services
Nonprofit formation
Business licensing support

Appointing an Individual vs. Harbor Compliances as Your Registered Agent

As mentioned above, appointing an individual as your resident may seem straightforward and inexpensive, but it increases liability exposure. An individual also can't serve you in more than one location and may not have systems in place to keep you updated on your regulatory standing. Harbor Compliance eliminates these risks by offering the following:

  • Reliability—Our local offices are open throughout regular business hours, and someone from our team is always present at the registered address to receive and forward legal documents on the same day.
  • Security—Our systems are secured with robust measures like encryption and access control, ensuring only you can view your notices.
  • Nationwide presence—Our registered offices are available in all U.S. states and territories, making foreign qualification effortless.
  • Comprehensive services—You can order additional services from our extensive portfolio, helping you meet other state requirements.

How To Appoint Harbor Compliance as Your Registered Agent

You can leverage Harbor Compliance's service under three different circumstances:

  1. Starting a new company
  2. Expanding into a new jurisdiction
  3. Changing your registered agent

Forming a New Entity

Depending on your business structure, you can use one of our three business formation services:

  1. LLC formation
  2. Nonprofit formation
  3. Incorporation

Select the appropriate service based on your needs, and we'll collect and file the necessary documents, notably your Articles of Organization for LLCs or Articles of Incorporation for profit and nonprofit corporations. We'll then appoint Harbor Compliance as your registered agent, saving you the hassle of doing the process on your own.

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can order our Registered Agent Service separately and designate Harbor Compliance as your agent in three steps:

  1. Sign up for the service.
  2. Log into the client portal to find our local address.
  3. Complete the pre-filled forms and submit them to the secretary of state.

Foreign Qualifying in a New State

Foreign qualifying in a new jurisdiction can be challenging due to differences in regulations in U.S. states and territories. To streamline the process, you can use our Foreign Qualification Service. All you have to do is complete the signup, and we will:

  • Gather and submit your qualification documents
  • Obtain your certificate of authority
  • Designate Harbor Compliance as your agent

If you choose this package, we'll provide our Registered Agent Service for a year at no extra cost.

Changing Your Registered Agent

If you want or need to change your current agent, you can use our Change of Registered Agent Service. Order our Registered Agent Service and select Add Change of Agent Service, and we'll complete the process on your behalf, including filing the necessary documents with the secretary of state.

Registered Agent FAQs

Below, you can see answers to some commonly asked questions about registered agents for LLCs. If you need more details, visit our extensive Information Center.

To find the registered agent of a company, contact the business filing office in the state where the business is registered.

If you don't have a registered agent, most states won't accept your formation filings. An exception is New York, where the secretary of state automatically becomes your agent until you appoint another one.

You can appoint yourself or someone else from your company as a registered agent. However, doing so comes with the risk of receiving legal documents at your place of work, potentially in front of other employees, clients, and business partners.

Meet Statutory Obligations With Our Registered Agent Service

Fulfilling statutory obligations is a crucial aspect of running a successful business. Order our Registered Agent Service to ensure your business meets all its legal obligations seamlessly. Our team of experts will manage all your notices, enabling you to respond to any legal action promptly and avoid complications, such as default judgment.

If you need assistance in meeting statutory requirements, reach out to us. We are committed to finding the best solutions for your organization and ensuring you maintain good standing with the state.

For a comprehensive review of your organization's regulatory standing, request a free Harbor Compliance Score™. To stay on top of all regulatory requirements, explore our advanced software—schedule a demonstration to see how it works.

Consult the table below to learn about the specific requirements a registered agent should meet in different jurisdictions:

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