Registered Agent vs Organizer (Key Differences Explained)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: February 13, 2024
Methodology
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Forming an LLC entails appointing certain individuals to act as an organizer and a registered agent to launch and maintain the company.

As an LLC consultant with over a decade of practice, I am familiar with the business formation process and assisted several entrepreneurs in maintaining their businesses.

After consulting our team of legal professionals, we'll share our insights on the roles and qualifications of a registered agent and organizer.

Quick Summary:

  • A registered agent conducts Service of Process while an organizer signs and files the Articles of Organization, both on behalf of the LLC 
  • The LLC has the option to appoint a member or employ a professional service to act as the registered agent and organizer for the company.
  • A registered agent is required to maintain a physical address within the LLC's operating state and stay accessible during standard business hours, unlike the organizer, who faces no such stipulations.
  • For new business owners, I advise you to employ a legal professional to draft, sign, and file the Articles of Organization to ensure its legality.

What Is a Registered Agent?

Registered agent helping with the business

A registered agent is a person or business that conducts service of process and receives vital legal documents on your entity’s behalf.

An LLC registered agent also has the following responsibilities:

  • Serving as the official point of contact for the company.
  • Being available at all times throughout regular business hours.
  • Ensure that necessary paperwork is processed and delivered to the business owner.

You can appoint a qualified individual, LLC member, or a service provider to act as your registered agent, as long as they meet the following criteria: 

  • Be authorized and available to receive and handle legal documents during business hours
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a physical address in the same state where the company transacts business.

The qualifications vary depending on the state, that’s why I advise business owners to determine specific state business laws.

What Is an LLC Organizer?

LLC organizer having a meeting inside the office

An LLC organizer is an individual who prepares, signs, and files the Articles of Organization on behalf of the company. The document is the legal basis for the creation of an LLC as a registered business entity in the state [1].

The organizer may be a member of the LLC, a friend or family member (above the age of 18), or a professional third party, such as an attorney or accountant.

Differences Between an LLC Organizer and a Registered Agent

Here are the key differences between an LLC organizer and a registered agent:

  1. Role and responsibilities: An LLC organizer is involved in the formation of the LLC, mainly by filing the Articles of Organization, while a registered agent acts as the point of contact for receiving legal documents and notices for the LLC.
  2. Duration of service: The organizer's role typically concludes after the LLC is formed, whereas the registered agent's role is ongoing, as long as the LLC exists.
  3. Legal requirements: A registered agent must have a physical address in the state where the LLC operates and be available during business hours; there are no such requirements for the organizer.
  4. Authority and decision-making: The organizer does not have inherent authority to make decisions for the LLC beyond the initial formation, whereas the registered agent does not make business decisions but must manage and forward legal notices.
  5. Potential for multiple roles: An individual can serve both as an LLC organizer and a registered agent, but their responsibilities in each role are distinct and separate.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

A woman presenting in front of a virtual meeting

You can be your own registered agent, however, running your business entity simultaneously can be challenging, which is why I advise business owners to hire a professional.

There are several reasons why you should avoid being your registered agent, including:

  • Time: Registered agents must be available during regular business hours, limiting your schedule.
  • Privacy: If you are listed as your registered agent, your personal information becomes a matter of public record. Colleagues of mine were served important documents at their residential address.
  • Location: Registered agents must live in the same state where the business operates.
  • Inability to Expand: Acting as your registered agent limits your company from expanding to other states because you cannot open many offices and be available during business hours in each of them simultaneously.

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FAQs

How Many Organizers Does an LLC Need?

An LLC needs one organizer to handle the formation process.

Can My LLC Organizer Be My Registered Agent?

Yes, your LLC organizer can be your registered agent. All 50 states allow you to name the same individual as your LLC's registered agent and organizer.

 

Reference:

  1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/articles_of_organization

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