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 set up a limited liability company (LLC), you must designate a registered agent. However, being an LLC's registered agent doesn't make that individual or company an owner of the LLC.

Woman sitting at desk and sifting through papers

What Is a Registered Agent?

Every LLC is required to have a registered agent. Having a registered agent on file means someone is always available to receive important legal or government documents on your behalf. You may designate an individual or a company to serve as your registered agent.

Criteria for Serving as a Registered Agent

While each state has its own criteria for who can be listed as a registered agent, any individual you choose to be your registered agent must be over 18 and must be a resident of the state in which you filed your LLC.

An individual or company serving as registered agent must also meet the following criteria:

  • Physical address: Your chosen registered agent must have a physical address (not a post office box or private mail service) and presence in the state in which you filed your LLC.
  • Availability during business hours: Your registered agent must also be consistently available during business hours at the address you've listed in your filings. This requirement ensures that someone is on hand to receive service or important documents that are delivered during normal business hours.

Any member of your LLC is eligible to act as your LLC's registered agent as long as they fulfill the specified criteria. This means that a person can own the LLC for which they are the registered agent, if they are a member of the LLC.

If you choose an individual or a company that is not a member of your LLC, they do not then become an owner of the LLC just because you've authorized them to be your LLC's registered agent.

Should I Be My Own Registered Agent?

While you or any other member of your LLC can serve as your own registered agent, keep the following in mind when deciding:

  • Public record: You're required to list your registered agent's physical address on your LLC filings, where it becomes a matter of public record. This means that everyone has access to this information, which can give rise to privacy concerns. For example, if you run a web-based business out of your home, you'd likely have to use your home address, since post office boxes and private mailbox services don't qualify as a physical address.
  • Hours of business: You will also need to be available during regular business hours in order to accept delivery of communications sent to you in your capacity as registered agent, and also to accept service of process. This can be particularly tricky for the small business owner without full-time employees who may need to attend to business matters that take them out of the office during the workday.
  • Multiple states: You must have a registered agent in every state in which your LLC does business. Unless you're able to maintain a physical place of business in each state in which you do business, using a registered agent service is often more efficient as such services are equipped to function as your registered agent in multiple states.

An LLC's registered agent can also own the LLC as long as they meet the criteria for acting as a registered agent. However, being designated a registered agent doesn't grant a person or company ownership rights in the LLC.

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.