How Do I Choose a Registered Agent?

Your choice of registered agent is important because this person or entity is responsible for receiving court summonses and other official documents that you don’t want to miss. 

In this article, we explain who can be a registered agent and how to choose one.

Need a Registered Agent For Your Business?

Recommended: Registered agent services offer a number of benefits. To explore your options, check out our Best Registered Agent Services review.


Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

Although registered agent requirements vary a little from state to state, generally speaking, a person or entity can be a registered agent if they:

  • Are 18 years old or older
  • Have a physical office and (in the case of an entity) are registered to operate in the state where the business was formed
  • Are available to receive documents during normal business hours

Read our Who Can Be a Registered Agent guide for more information.

Should I Be My Own Registered Agent?

You can be your own registered agent if you meet the criteria above. Alternatively, you can select another qualifying person or entity to be your registered agent.

Another option is to hire a professional registered agent service.

Why Use a Registered Agent Service?

We recommend hiring a registered agent service for several reasons, including:

  • Compliance with the law
  • Peace of mind
  • Flexibility
  • Privacy

Our Should I Use a Registered Agent Service guide can help you decide whether this type of service is the right choice for your business.

Compliance With the Law

A registered agent will help your company stay current with state regulatory requirements by periodically sending regular reminders. It can also file certain official documents like annual report filings.

In addition, a registered agent keeps copies of your corporate documents to provide backups in case of theft, a natural disaster, or other incidents.

Peace of Mind

Running a business is challenging, but hiring a registered agent can ease some of the burdens by receiving and storing important tax and legal documents, helping to maintain your work-life balance by keeping personal and business mail separate, and providing support if there’s a problem.

Flexibility

If you act as your own registered agent, you will have to be available to receive official government correspondence and service of process notices during normal business hours at the physical address you provide.

Conversely, using a registered agent allows you to keep more flexible hours and spend that time focusing on your business. Moreover, if you hire a national registered agent, you can form an LLC in one or more other states.

Privacy

Your registered agent’s physical address will be listed on the public record. If you operate out of your home and don’t want your home address listed, this is a good reason to hire a registered agent service.

Similarly, hiring a registered agent service will prevent you from being served with a lawsuit in front of your family, employees, or customers.

What Is the Best Registered Agent Service?

If you want to hire a registered agent service but don’t know how to choose, select one that offers:

  • Compliance management: reminders for filing an annual report and other important deadlines for business entities.
  • Document management: local scanning of all official legal documents so you can access them from your online business account.
  • Availability: a reliable customer service team who can answer any questions by phone or online that you may have regarding your business.
  • Thorough coverage: the ability to provide registered agent services in all 50 states.

Best Registered Agent Service - ZenBusiness ($99/year)

We recommend ZenBusiness, which provides one of the best registered agent services you can get for the money. ZenBusiness:

  • Is up-front about offering premium features for your business formation like its worry-free guarantee, a service in which it files your company's annual report and other compliance documentation. Other companies typically charge more for this.
  • Has an excellent online document management system and provides regular compliance alerts, which makes working with it easy.
  • Provides unusually good customer service, with highly knowledgeable representatives who are well versed in company formation and business maintenance.

Registered Agent Frequently Asked Questions

What is a registered agent?

A registered agent is a person or entity that a business designates to receive court summonses and other official documents.

Should I pay for a registered agent?

Although you don’t have to, we recommend hiring a registered agent service. This will help maintain your privacy, ensure legal compliance, and provide flexibility.

Can I act as my own registered agent?

Yes, you can act as your own registered agent as long as you meet the criteria. Specifically, you must be 18 years of age or older, have a physical address and be registered to operate in the state where your business is formed, and be available in person during normal business hours.

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