Can I Name My Wife as LLC Registered Agent?

By Laura Payet

Can I Name My Wife as LLC Registered Agent?

By Laura Payet

Your registered agent is the person named in your limited liability company's (LLC) articles of organization to accept service of legal documents on the company's behalf. You can name your spouse as your registered agent, but this may not be a good idea. Here are some things to consider when deciding who should act as your company's registered agent.

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Requirements and Duties of a Registered Agent

Although there may be small differences among the states, state law generally requires a registered agent to be over 18 years of age and to reside in the state where the LLC formed. The agent must have an actual, physical street address, not a P.O. box, where they are usually available during normal business hours. The agent does not need to be a member or an employee of the company.

In general, your registered agent's only responsibility is to receive service of process and legal documents for the LLC and to pass those documents on to the company's members or management. If someone sues your company, notice of the lawsuit goes to the registered agent, as do any state notices or tax documents related to the business. The law presumes that an LLC's management has knowledge of any documents that reach its agent, so it is critical that the agent is someone reliable and trustworthy who passes all materials on to you. If, for example, your agent neglects to forward notice of a lawsuit and the LLC therefore never responds to it, the company could end up facing a default judgment.

Privacy and Other Considerations

Your registered agent's address must be publicly available so state agencies and potential plaintiffs can easily find it. If your spouse does not have a separate office and plans instead to use your home address as the registered one, you should expect to receive junk mail and solicitations at that address. In addition, if your wife or husband has to receive service of process at your home, you run the risk of your neighbors being privy to your company's business. This may not seem like such a big deal, but keep in mind that in some areas, the constable is responsible for serving legal process, and you may not want your neighbors to wonder about a constable's arrival at your home. If you and your spouse share an office, and your spouse is the registered agent, they may have to receive service in front of your employees and clientele, which you may also want to avoid.

Furthermore, if you and your spouse divorce or have marital difficulties, your LLC could suffer from the fallout. Needing to replace your registered agent could add additional difficulty to an already fraught situation. Finally, if your company does business in different states, you must name a different person for each one, so it may not be particularly helpful to have your spouse fill this role in one location.

Other Alternatives

Instead of naming your spouse, you could act as your LLC's registered agent yourself. However, this step carries the same privacy concerns as using your wife or husband. Additionally, as the agent, you must be available during business hours to receive service, which might not be convenient if your business requires you to be out of the office frequently.

Another alternative is to choose a professional registered agent service to act for you in all states where you do business. By using a professional service, you can avoid all the potential drawbacks of using your spouse, protect your privacy, and be sure that you never miss an important legal notice.

 

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.