When forming an LLC or Corporation every state requires that you have a registered agent available during business hours in order to maintain professional correspondence with your state government. You may have heard the position called something else, or wondered what it is entirely. A registered agent serves many purposes and can help you run your business effectively.
What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or an entity who is the legal representative for your business. They accept legal notices and all official documents on behalf of your LLC. In the event of a lawsuit, the State of California is required to properly notify a business, and having an official registered agent provides the state with a reliable contact.
A California Registered Agent is also known by other titles, such as:
- California agent for service of process
- California corporate agent
- California statutory agent
- California resident agent
What Does a Registered Agent Do?
Beyond providing an official California address, a registered agent is part of handling all legal interactions for your LLC. They accept all service of process and legal notices and inform your company of them in a timely manner, giving you ample time to respond to lawful materials. Hiring one will also help you maintain privacy, and without a designated agent you will be unable to form your business.
They also accept business mail and compliance reminders sent by the Secretary of State, ensuring that you do not miss compliance deadlines. An agent can also prepare and submit any additional business filings that are required. In the event of a lawsuit, having someone receive notifications discreetly can protect your reputation by not being informed in front of customers.
Why You Need a Registered Agent
Forming an LLC in the state of California means it is required that you have a registered agent. It provides and ensures that your LLC has a physical presence in the state and allows the owners and members to focus more on the actual business instead of having to take on additional legal responsibilities.
Having a designated registered agent during business hours means that you always have someone available to receive legal notices, allowing you to travel or focus on tasks to run your business. It protects your personal address from being public. It also ensures that should legal issues come up, you have someone who can keep you up to date and notify you discreetly so that you may shift your focus onto those issues when appropriate, and not embarrass you in front of friends, family, or customers.
How to Choose a Registered Agent
There are a few requirements you need to be aware of when looking for and choosing a registered agent. They must be at least 18 years of age and have a physical address in the state of California. They must also be available during standard business hours. Since their primary task is receiving formal documents, they must also feel comfortable doing so on your behalf. They will need to understand all the steps involved in maintaining compliance so that your business will not fall out of favor.
Your chosen agent should also present themselves in a professional manner. They represent your company when talking to the government, so it’s important that they represent your company favorably. They must be able to remain composed, even in the event should you be served with due process. Most importantly, they must have an active presence in California.
If you are confident that you can fulfill all these requirements yourself, you can possibly assign yourself as your own California registered agent. You must live in California and be aware of all business tax laws. You will also need to keep track of every compliance deadline. Your full name and address as well as your contact information will also be made public, and you will be forced to have regular business hours in order to be available should you be contacted by the Secretary of State.
Choosing an agent is also not set in stone. You can change your agent later by filing the right form.
What Happens If You Don’t
Have a Registered Agent
Failing to provide the Secretary of State with an acceptable California agent for service of process will result in a rejected application when forming your LLC. If for some reason you end up without an official registered agent living in the state of California, then your business will ultimately be dissolved. It is imperative that you have a proper channel to communicate with the government, and if you suddenly don’t have the means to receive and respond in a timely fashion, then your business will no longer be in compliance and might be dissolved.
You can update or change your registered agent at any time by filing an updated statement of information. This statement is filed upon formation of your LLC, as well as every two years, making it a biennial report. Ensuring that this form is up to date will keep your business compliant and secure.
Why a Business Lawyer Should be your Registered Agent
The best option is to use a business lawyer as your California registered agent. Hiring a lawyer as your registered agent is the best way to understand any documentation that is sent to you regarding legal action. Not only does it leave you with less to worry about, but it allows you to ensure that you are in full compliance with all aspects of the law. An experienced agent will be able to guide you through the startup process for your company, or help you understand legal requirements while setting up or maintaining your business.
Wyoming LLC Attorney Registered Agents
If you’re looking for a registered agent and are in the process of forming your LLC, why not start a company with us? We keep your information anonymous and include a one year registered agent service. This service includes:
- Attorney Client Privilege
- Free Mail Forwarding
- A Business Address
- Peace of mind, and more!