Does the Registered Agent Own the LLC?

By Brette Sember, J.D.

Does the Registered Agent Own the LLC?

By Brette Sember, J.D.

When you file to create a limited liability company (LLC) in any state, your LLC must list a registered agent, also called a statutory agent. There are a variety of requirements for registered agents, which makes it important to understand this role in your LLC.

Woman sitting at desk and sifting through papers

What Is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is a person or company that is publicly authorized by your LLC to accept service of process, as well as legal documents and notifications from the state, on behalf of your business. These documents can include state tax notices, mailings from the state, petitions or complaints if your company is being sued, or documents regarding your LLC filing status. The registered agent must forward such notices to your LLC so that you can comply with the legal requirements in them.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

The requirements for a registered agent are as follows:

  • The agent can be any person over age 18 who is a resident of your state or any company you choose to be your registered agent.
  • The agent must have a physical address—sometimes called a registered office—and presence in the state where you have filed your LLC. The agent must have an actual physical address, not a post office box, where the documents can be sent.
  • If you have created LLCs in several states, you must have a registered agent in each one. In such a situation, it makes sense to hire one agency with offices in all states in which your company does business.
  • The agent must be regularly available during business hours to accept service of process and other legal documents at the address given.

You or any of the members of your LLC can be named as the registered agent if you meet the above requirements. You can name an employee of your LLC or your LLC's attorney, if you wish. You can even name a spouse or family friend. However, it is more common to hire someone, normally a firm that specializes in these services.

What Rights and Duties Does a Registered Agent Have?

When you designate a registered agent, you reach an agreement with that person or company to accept service of process on your LLC's behalf. As a required part of your LLC filings, you must notify the state as to whom you've selected to take on this role. The person or company's name and address becomes part of the public record—something to keep in mind if you decide to name your spouse.

The registered agent does not become an owner of your LLC—unless he or her is already a member—and does not have the right to respond to the papers received on your behalf. Registered agents cannot make any decisions for your LLC and do not manage any company funds.

The agent is responsible for accepting the documents on behalf of your LLC and transferring them to you. Most registered agent companies scan, store, and save all documents, in addition to sending them to you. They may also keep compliance calendars, reminding you when you need to respond to papers, sign documents, or file taxes.

Your registered agent is an important part of your LLC business plan and filings, so be sure to choose a person or company that is reliable and who you feel comfortable working with.

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.