Welcome to the Lafayette Process Servers LLC Podcast. I’m your host Scott Frank, and today we’ll talk about registered agents, what they are, and why you may need one. We’ll give you some insider tips on when to choose a registered agent service for you or your business and how to find the best one to meet your needs.
As experienced registered agents and process servers, we’re here to help you find the answers that you need. Thanks for tuning in! Let’s get started.
What Is a Registered Agent or Registered Agent Service?
So, what exactly is a registered agent?
The term “registered agent” refers to any person who has been appointed by law as a representative to receive notices from other entities for that particular business or corporation. This agent must abide by the laws set by the state. In some states, they can also be referred to as a “resident agent,” “statutory agent,” or “agent for service of process.”
These representatives (or “agents”) have two main tasks: receiving legal documents and passing those documents along to the proper people within the company or organization. The most common example of when a registered agent is used is when they are appointed to accept service of papers related to lawsuits filed against a business. Another example might be if someone was sued over a debt to another party. In that case, the court could send notice of this lawsuit to the registered agent so he can forward it to proper person.
These agents can handle various documents, such as official correspondence from the federal, state, or local government, as well as subpoenas, corporate filing notices, summonses, and tax notices.
Who Needs a Registered Agent?
So, who needs a registered agent?
If you own a company such as a limited liability corporation or LLC, or general corporation, you should consider getting a registered agent. For businesses such as these, and in the state of Louisiana, the Secretary of State requires that you have a designated agent and that you appoint this person through your business’s Articles of Incorporation.
Other businesses such as sole proprietorships and partnerships may not require an agent because of the nature of how their business is formed. Again, however, it’s important that you check with your state’s specific laws and ordinances on whether you need a registered agent.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent for an LLC or Corporation?
The next question is important and worth covering: who can serve as a registered agent for your business or corporation?
Well, the rules vary by state, but generally speaking, the agent should be a resident of the state. In some cases, states may amend this requirement so that the person or registered agent service simply needs to have a business office, physical address, and license to operate within the state.
In most jurisdictions, a person can be named as a registered agent by completing paperwork and registering it through the state’s governing agency, which is typically the Secretary of State. Also, in some locations, the state will allow for an agent to serve more than one business and company. There are many agent services that have been set up as a business for the sole purpose of being able to serve multiple business customers throughout their state.
As another requirement, in the state of Louisiana, a registered agent must be an adult over the age of 18 and have their own physical address within the state.
It’s important that whoever serves as the agent is available during working business hours. Because their primary function is to accept and forward an organization’s most important legal documents, the agent must be available and easily accessible throughout the work day.
If you are considering hiring someone as a registered agent and aren’t sure if they’re legally allowed to do so, it’s a good idea to call your Secretary of State and ask what the rules are before making any criticial decisions on your business.
Can I be my own Registered Agent?
You might ask: can I be my business’s registered agent?
Depending on your state, it may be possible to serve as your own agent. It may also be possible for other individuals to serve as your registered agent, such as an employee or business associate, attorney, spouse, relative, friend, or any other trusted person.
It’s a good idea to read up on your individual state’s laws and, if you need additional information, to call an attorney. Wherever you and your business are located, those state laws will determine if you can represent your own company.
When to Use a Registered Agent Service
There are some cons to serving as your business’s registered agent, and there are several reasons why you should consider hiring a person or service to act on your behalf.
What you might not know is that an agent does more than just sign for mail. This designated person or business is responsible for receiving vital communications from outside sources and forwarding those messages to you and your business leadership.
To give you an idea of when an agent might be a good idea, here’s a list of scenarios where they could be of service. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all of these services are required by law for registered agents, and not all agents offer these services.
- If your company is sued, a registered agent can accept the legal paperwork on your behalf.
- If your organization receives renewal notices for its business registration, a registered agent can receive these from the Secretary of State and renew them on your behalf.
- If you receive an eviction or tax notice, he or she may accept these notices that are addressed to your business.
- If you need to update your business filings, a registered agent may be able to help you with the legal document filings or keep you informed of pending deadlines.
- In some cases, a registered agent service may be responsible for tracking invoices and bills that come in and ensuring that payment goes out promptly.
As you can see, there are several instances where hiring a registered agent service can be helpful to your business.
What Are the Risks and Benefits of Having a Registered Agent?
If for some reason you decide not to hire a registered agent, whether your state does not require it or you choose not to comply with the law, there are some risks that you should take into consideration. Here’s a list of risks that you should consider for failing to have a registered agent for your business:
- You may not receive vital information. If no one is designated to accept documents or correspondence for your business, it may get missed.
- You may miss crucial deadlines. If legal paperwork is unable to be delivered to you, you may miss important tax and legal deadlines pertaining to your business.
- You may lose compliance and legal standing. If you are out of compliance or fail to renew your business registration, you may be penalized by your Secretary of State and lose certain legal protections afforded to you.
- You may face fines and legal consequences. By failing to follow state guidelines required of your business, you may face potential financial or legal consequences such as fines or legal action.
What are the Benefits of Hiring a Registered Agent?
Now that we’ve discussed the risks of failing to have a registered agent for your business, what are the benefits? Here’s a list of how a registered agent service can help:
- They can save you time on dealing with extra paperwork.
- They can keep your business affairs private with a confidential registered agent.
- By having a registered agent, you may not be required to have a physical address, as the agent will provide this on your behalf.
- You will have more flexibility in your day because the agent will be representing you during business hours.
- If you hire a reputable agent, you will be kept in compliance with the state and minimize the risk of losing your business’s legal protections.
- You will have peace of mind in knowing that the job is being handled by a professional.
Where Can I Find Good Registered Agent Services?
If you’ve decided that you need a registered agent, there are several ways in which you can begin researching the best company in your state. There are several ways to find an experienced registered agent, and here are some things to keep in mind when finding and hiring an agency.
First, you can begin by searching online for registered agent providers. Just enter the words “registered agent” along with your location, and you should come across plenty of options.
Be careful, though – not every registered agent service provides quality service. Make sure you check references and online reviews. You can also ask your friends, family members, and others in your industry or business community for recommendations. They may know the local agencies well and can provide insight into which ones work best.
Secondly, you can also contact your local government offices to see if they have a recommendation or list of service providers in your area. They may also be able to help you by giving you a list of requirements for registered agents so that you can hire the best company or person.
Lastly, you should also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been lodged against the company. Again, it’s important to know that whoever you vet has a record of providing professional service.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential agents, contact each agency directly by phone or email. When talking with them, make sure you get several key pieces of information first. It’s important to make sure that the company offers client service and excellent customer support.
It would be best to ask whether they tap into technology such as email notifications and updates for their clients. This is helpful so that, even if you need to reach them after hours, you know that they’ve received it and will get back to you.
When interviewing them, ask lots of questions! Don’t just accept what they tell you without asking follow-up questions. And remember, this isn’t something you’ll ever regret doing. In fact, many people who choose poorly find themselves wishing they had done things differently after they realize they’re stuck paying high prices for poor service.
Hire a Registered Agent that Provides Effective, Professional Service
We hope that this has been informative and helps answer all of your questions on registered agents! We know that once you’ve made the decision to hire an agent that you won’t regret it. At the end of the day, a registered agent service can save you time, money, and unnecessary headache. This frees you up to focus on the other important parts of running your business!
If you need a registered agent or professional process server with a high level of personal service, then Lafayette is your answer! Contact us at 1-866-237-2853 or send us an email inquiry at [email protected].
At Lafayette Process Servers LLC, our list of services include:
- Process Agent and Registered Agent Services
- Process Serving
- Legal Document Delivery
- Court Filings
- Same-Day Legal Courier Service
- Document Retrieval
- Witness Locating and Skip Tracing
- Criminal and Civil Background Checks
- Legal and Courthouse Research
- Court Paper “Walk-Throughs”
And that wraps up our episode for today. We hope that you’ve enjoyed listening to us chat about all things related to registered agents!
If there is something specific that you’d like us to discuss in a future episode, please let us know, and we would love to cover it for you. We’ll be sure to respond promptly. Thank you again for listening and we look forward to you tuning in again!
The foregoing podcast has simply been presented for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. He or those at Lafayette Process Servers LLC are not attorneys. If you seek further information about this topic or any other legal issues, please contact a legal professional in your local area.
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