When forming an LLC, Corporation, or Non-Profit business in any state, it’s required to have a person available to accept legal documents provided by that state’s government. This position has many possible names depending on the state, but universally they are known as registered agents. You can either serve as your own agent, or hire a registered agent service. Having a business lawyer as your registered agent provides many benefits.
What is a Registered Agent?
A New York registered agent for service of process is a resident or business with a physical address located within the state of New York. They take on the responsibility of corresponding with State and other government points of contact, as well as accept notices of lawsuits on behalf of an LLC, corporation, or partnership. According to New York LLC law, an agent must be either a natural resident of the state, or a domestic or authorized foreign LLC or corporation.
A registered agent might also be known as:
- Agent for service of process
- Corporate agent
- Statutory agent
- Resident agent
What Does a Registered Agent Do?
When there’s a pending lawsuit against an individual or entity, the act of informing them of the lawsuit is known as service of process. A registered agent’s main purpose is to provide the state government a designated individual, LLC, or corporation as a point of contact in the event of a lawsuit. By default, the New York Secretary of State serves as your registered agent, though you should choose to elect your own.
The other things a registered agent might do include sending annual report filing reminders and updates on how to help your business stay compliant. They are the gatekeepers for business entities who keep you informed about potential lawful issues that you can then resolve in a timely fashion. No matter whether your business is large or small, your registered agent can be in charge of receiving:
- Tax forms
- Legal documents
- Government correspondence
- Annual reports
- Notices of Lawsuits
Why Do You Need a Registered Agent?
The list of advantages far outweighs the disadvantages. Making sure all your legal documents are secured and up to date can take up a lot of time. It will cost money, but based on what you need to keep track of, having a registered agent will save enough time to make up for that cost. Hiring a registered agent service comes with these perks:
If you list yourself as your company’s registered agent you will need to provide your home address and phone number. These will be made available to the public. It’s very intrusive, but you can avoid it by having a registered agent provide their information instead.
Having a registered agent to accept business documents on your behalf frees up your obligations to focus on growing your business. In the event of a lawsuit you can shift your focus to address it, and you can rest easy the rest of the time knowing you have someone who will inform you should an issue arise.
Maintain Good Standing
A reliable registered agent will have access to compliance calendar tools which will help keep track of important due dates to file updated documents or to address issues, ensuring you maintain good standing with your state’s government. It’s important to be compliant with state and federal laws in order to avoid legal complications which might cause you to lose your limited liability protection when your business is dissolved.
When an LLC forms in New York, it’s required by law that they publish a notice of formation in a local newspaper within 120 days of formation. These publications can run around $1,500 or more, depending on the location your business is formed. Having a registered agent with a different address can reduce this cost greatly.
A registered agent has to be available during 9 to 5 business hours. That’s simple enough for some, but maybe your business needs to run at a different time slot? If you have someone to represent you during those hours then you can operate your business at the time most convenient to you.
To avoid an embarrassing situation, it’s good to have someone who will not hurt your credibility. If you have an agent accept services of process in your stead, you can ensure someone won’t interrupt you in front of a client or when you’re with family to deliver notice of a lawsuit.
All of your important legal documents can be stored online in a digital format, making it simple to access from anywhere. Without having to interact with an agent in person you can access your documents from a secured cloud storage on your computer or personal device. It’s helpful to have someone at your disposal to fetch these files when needed.
If you use an LLC formation service like ours, we provide a registered agent for the first year of your company’s existence. You’ll get to experience firsthand the relief that comes with all these benefits!
How to Choose a Registered Agent
To be a registered agent in New York, all you need is someone who is:
- At least 18 years old
- A natural resident of the state of New York
- Available during 9 to 5 business hours, Monday through Friday
After you’ve picked a registered agent, you will add their name and address to the Articles of Organization you must file when forming your business. This form costs $200 to file, and is required when forming the business. If you need to change agents later, you’ll have to file a Certificate of Change form for your LLC and pay $30. If you can meet all the requirements and challenges listed above, then you can decide to be your own registered agent.
What Happens if You Don’t Have a Registered Agent?
If your registered agent resigns or is no longer able to represent your business, then your agent for service of process will default back to the Secretary of State. This is bad for a huge reason: time to respond.
When you’re notified of a lawsuit you have 20 days to respond. If the Secretary of State is your registered agent, then that clock starts as soon as they are notified. Their process is not as efficient as a service you hire, and you can lose even more time since their process is to mail notifications to you.
If you fail to update your LLC’s annual report, then your business will fall out of good standing. New York doesn’t automatically dissolve your business, but there will be fees to pay.
Why Should a Business Lawyer be Your Registered Agent?
A business lawyer is prepared to deal with all the expectations of a registered agent. They understand the language and can react with legal precision in case of an emergency. If you form your business with us, we will provide you with a year of registered agent services. Contact us today to get started forming your LLC in New York!