Three Main Functions of a Corporate Registered Agent
As a business owner, you’ve probably heard that you need a registered agent, and in fact, it’s likely required by law in your state that you do have a registered agent. But what is it that a registered agent actually does? Keep reading as we explore the three main duties of a registered agent so that you’re more familiar with this required service.
In most states, as we mentioned, a corporation is legally required to have a registered agent’s name and address made publicly available. This means that as a business owner, you will designate a person to act as an “agent” of your business and that they are “registered” with the Secretary of State. Whomever you select to be designated as your business’s registered agent will have their name and address officially and publicly on file with the Secretary of State. This means that they will receive all incoming mail from the government (and from spammers and solicitors as this information will be accessible by anyone). The individual listed on file as your company’s registered agent will act as the “on-call” contact person or representative for your business and must always be available during standard business hours. Keep in mind that this is very important and not listing a registered agent for your company won’t prevent you from being sued or contacted by the government. Ultimately, part of a registered agent’s job is simply being an available contact person with their name and address published. That’s the simple part! Beyond just acting as the contact person for your business, the registered agent will accept and forward important legal documents and serve as a corporate liaison.
Beyond simply having contact information published, a registered agent acts as a corporate liaison between your company and the government. If you are out of town or go on vacation, someone still has to be available to accept important legal documents and ensure that you as the business owner receives them. It is hugely important to have someone available because there could be serious consequences if important messages or appearance requests in court are ignored, even if it was unintentional. Furthermore, it’s very important that someone trustworthy accepts and delivers the documents to you. Some legal documents that a registered agent will receive include annual reports, financial documents, and other communication from the Secretary of State. Additionally, a registered agent will accept service of process.
Service of Process
No, a registered agent is not a process server. However, the registered agent is the recipient of service of process. Service of process essentially puts into practice your legal right to due process. In the event that your business is ever involved in a lawsuit, and you are summoned to court, you have a legal right to be notified in writing that you are expected to appear. Typically, a process server will deliver the summons and have to provide an affidavit stating that you have been served. Because many business owners like to keep legal matters private, having a registered agent dedicated to accept service of process at an alternate location is ideal.
Most business owners opt to hire a registered agents instead of serving as their own registered agent because of the convenience, value, and benefit of hiring this position out. There are a number of reasons why it is best to hire this job out, which we outlined in one of our recent blog posts. If your business needs a registered agent, contact us at (855) 236-9172!