Last updated: September 16, 2022

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? Fortunately, transferring a registered agent is not difficult; nevertheless, it's critical to execute the transfer correctly.

What Is A Registered Agent?

An LLC registered agent is a person or company in the state who is designated to receive legal documents, such as lawsuits. If your LLC is sued, these papers are sent to your registered agent's address.

They are then forwarded to the LLC. A registered agent must be an individual or company with a physical street address in your home state.

The Difference Between Registered Agent & Registered Office?

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Registered agent services are receiving legal and tax documents on behalf of the LLC.

A registered office, on the other hand, is an address where your company can be served with legal documents if it's sued or has another business relationship in the state where it operates.

Every state requires that you have a registered office for your LLC, but only about half of them additionally require that you have a registered agent.

Why Change Your Registered Agent?

There are many reasons why you may want to change an LLC registered agent:

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

In any case, do not overlook this crucial step. However, when you're choosing your new registered agent, there are many criteria that your selected registered representative must fulfill.

Who Can Be Your New Registered Agent?

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In most cases, your new registered agent must meet the following 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 current registered agent services. You should also check with your state's office for professional licensing or certification where appropriate.

In addition, you may also want to check 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 them to be able to provide you with legally registered agent service.

They can't be an individual operating under a trading name because then they won't be able to provide you the registered agent services. However, in some states, for example, this is handled with the business license registration—but it may be called something else.

Be sure to choose an agent that is authorized to act as a registered agent in the state you've filed your LLC with for them to be able to provide registered agent services. This may be different from where they reside or operate their business.

Registering your LLC does not have to be complicated if you know how and when to transfer a registered agent. After knowing who can be your registered agent, how do you change them?

4 Steps To Change Your Registered Agent

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Transferring registered agents is not difficult; nevertheless, it's critical to change registered agents correctly.

  1. First and foremost: Do not file the paperwork yourself. It must be completed by your LLC or its current registered agent.
  2. The legal document should include the name of your LLC, as well as your registered agent's name, physical address, and the date of transfer.
  3. The document is executed by someone with authority to act on behalf of your LLC—the same is true for the person or company that is picking up the duties as a registered agent.
  4. You must sign and verify this document before a state official in the state where your LLC is registered.

Requirements and Paperwork for Changing Registered Agents

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Changing registered agents has never been easier.

You must file new documents with the state agency that created the original filings – typically either the secretary of state or the department of corporations.

There will likely be an additional filing fee as well as extra paperwork to change your registered agent.

The exact requirements vary from state to state, but typically you must file a registered agent form with the state that:

  • States that your existing registered agent will be terminated and appoints a new registered agent.
  • Provides the name and registered agent address.
  • Provides the name of your LLC.

Be sure to check the exact requirements and file all the necessary paperwork for changing your registered agent with your state and consult an attorney or law firm.

FAQs

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

No. You cannot double up as both the LLC's organizer and registered agent.

This is because you are acting on behalf of your company when you serve as its registered agent, so it would be a conflict of interest for you to also be listed as an officer or manager in the LLC formation documents.

How Much Does an LLC Registered Agent Cost?

There is no cost to list a registered agent. The only charge that might apply is for the state filing fee and sometimes an expedite service charge.

What Happens if I Don’t Have an LLC Registered Agent?

If you do not have a registered agent, your LLC will not be able to receive official correspondence from the state or file mandatory annual reports.

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

You generally have a limited period in which you must appoint or change your company's registered agent, so be sure to consider this when creating the business plan for 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 serve a similar registered agent service.

Service of the process includes official notifications and documents related to lawsuits or other legal proceedings against your business, hence the main focus of a registered agent service.

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

A commercial registered agent is someone who provides their address as the registered location for multiple business entities. They are generally more flexible, but they may also charge fees or have other requirements.

A noncommercial registered agent is a resident within the state where your LLC was formed who agrees to receive the service process on behalf of your business at his or her own address.

Most states only allow non-commercial registered agents to act on behalf of LLCs, but some registered agents can work with corporations or other business entities.

Changing LLC Registered Agent: Conclusion

Your registered agent plays a crucial role in upholding and protecting your business's legal status.

If you're not sure who the best company is to provide you with excellent registered agent service for this specific business, choose one that has plenty of experience serving other businesses like yours.

Additionally, keep in mind that when you need to change your LLC's registered agent, the existing company should always be notified.

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