How to Change Registered Agent for an LLC? (2024 Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: April 6, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
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If you've created a limited liability company (LLC), you'd have chosen an initial registered agent when you filed it.

But what if you want to switch your registered agent at some point? Fortunately, transferring a registered agent is not difficult; nevertheless, it's critical to execute the transfer correctly.

As a seasoned expert in business law and LLC formation, I've compiled a comprehensive guide to help you easily navigate the process.

Quick Summary

  • To change a registered agent for an LLC, you need to prepare the correct documentation, including details of both the current and new agents, and submit it to the appropriate state agency.
  • The process can usually be completed online, by mail, or in person, depending on the state's available services.
  • Approximately 60% of businesses opt to use professional registered agent services to ensure compliance and proper handling of legal documents.
  • Changing a registered agent, in my opinion, is an essential step for maintaining compliance and ensuring your LLC receives crucial legal documents efficiently.

How To Change Your Registered Agent?

A person using a laptop while holding a paper

To change your LLC's registered agent, file the necessary documents with the relevant state agency, usually the Secretary of State or Department of Corporations.

This process involves a filing fee and additional paperwork.

Requirements differ by state but generally include: terminating the existing agent, appointing a new one, and providing both the new agent's name and address, as well as the name of your LLC.

You can make this change using a professional service, online, by mail or in-person.

Here's how to do it:

1. Changing Your Registered Agent Using a Professional Service

Professional registered agent services offer a convenient way to manage legal correspondence and compliance.

To switch to a professional service:

  • Research and select a reputable registered agent service that operates in your state.
  • Contact the service to initiate the setup process. They will typically ask for information about your business and the current registered agent.
  • The service may handle the entire change process on your behalf, including filing the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State.

2. Changing Your Registered Agent Online (if available)

If your state offers online filing:

  • Visit the Secretary of State's website and navigate to the business services section.
  • Find the option to change your registered agent, which may be part of the forms or online services offered.
  • Complete the online form with the new agent's information and pay any required fee. The update is usually processed within a few days.

3. Changing Your Registered Agent by Mail, In-person, or Fax (if available)

For businesses preferring or needing to submit their change request offline:

  • Download or request the Change of Registered Agent form from the State Secretary's office.
  • Fill out the form with the new agent's details. Ensure all other required information is accurate and complete.
  • Submit the form and any associated fee by mail, in person at the Secretary of State's office, or via fax if this option is available.

4. Changing Your Registered Agent by Amendment (if available)

In some states, changing a registered agent may require filing an amendment to your business's formation documents:

  • Check with the State's Secretary of State to see if this applies to your situation.
  • If required, complete the appropriate amendment form, indicating the change in your registered agent.
  • Submit the amendment form along with any necessary fees according to the state's submission guidelines.

5. Changing Your Registered Agent by Annual Report (if available)

Some states allow or require changes to be made during the annual reporting process:

  • When preparing your annual report, look for the section that allows you to update registered agent information.
  • Include the new registered agent's details in your report.
  • Submit the annual report with the updated information and any required fees.

6. Other Methods (if available)

Depending on your State's regulations, there may be additional methods to change your registered agent:

  • Direct Contact: Some states may allow changes to be made through direct contact with the Secretary of State's office, such as over the phone, for simple updates.
  • Special Forms: For specific types of businesses or under certain conditions, there might be specialized forms or procedures to follow.

Why Change Your Registered Agent?

Changing your registered agent might be necessary due to relocation, convenience, or improving communication and compliance with legal matters.

Considering the Lending Tree data showing a 20.8% failure rate of businesses in the US within the first year, ensuring effective communication and legal compliance through a reliable registered agent is crucial for business survival [1].

All in all, changing your registered agent is crucial if your current registered agent isn’t serving their purpose.

This may be due to the following reasons:

  • The current registered agent doesn't have a physical address in your home state.
  • The current registered agent is no longer available, such as changing jobs or moving to a new residence.
  • You want to choose the best person or company to serve as your registered agent.

Whatever the reason might be, you have the right to change your registered agent and find a new one that will act in your best interest.

Who Can Be Your New Registered Agent?

Two persons pointing at each other

Your new registered agent can be an individual or a professional service that maintains a physical address in your state.

As requirements for registered agents vary by state, you should become familiar with the state's laws.

However, there will be some common criteria:

  • They have a mailing address in your home state.
  • Their office is open during normal business hours, which you can verify.
  • They are not currently serving as an LLC's registered agent for another company or individual.
  • Their company is registered with the state if required.

If you choose to use a new agent for your LLC, be sure to do plenty of research first.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is an excellent place to start to help you choose your new registered agent service [2]. They show how reliable a specific business is and how problem-oriented they are when it comes to dealing with customers' issues.

You should also check with your state's office for professional licensing or certification, where appropriate.

In addition, you may also want to check with your state's corporate filing office.

"The person or company that will serve as your LLC's registered agent must be a legal entity in its own right for it to be able to provide you with legal registered agent service."

-Jon Morgan, Co-Editor & Co-Founder of Venture Smarter

If you want an agent to serve as your registered agent, make sure they are qualified to do so in the state where your LLC has been registered. This may be different from where they reside or operate their business.

Changing the Registered Agent - Choose Your State

FAQs

How Much Does an LLC Registered Agent Cost?

An LLC registered agent may cost up to $300 or be free, and this is something that will vary from state to state. To get the exact price, you will have to reach out to new resident agent services.

How Soon Can I Change My Registered Agent if I Need To?

If you need to change your registered agent, you can do that for a limited period. Make sure that you check it when forming your LLC.

What Is a Statutory Agent?

The statutory agent is the person designated by the LLC to receive service of process on behalf of the business entity.

This term is often used interchangeably with a registered agent since they provide a similar professional registered agent service.

What Is a Commercial vs. Non-commercial Registered Agent?

A commercial registered agent offers their address for an LLC's registered location, while a non-commercial agent is a state resident who receives documents on behalf of the LLC.

References:

  1. https://www.lendingtree.com/business/small/failure-rate/
  2. https://www.bbb.org/

About The Author

Author
Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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