What Is a Registered Agent?

What Is a Registered Agent?
5 min read

A registered agent is an individual or business that receives legal papers and government correspondence on behalf of a company. It's a requirement under United States business law.

Most businesses choose a national service provider to serve as their registered agent because it gives them consistency and simplifies compliance with state requirements. A national registered agent can also help you stay compliant if your company expands into multiple states.

Legal Requirements

A registered agent is required by law for every business that incorporates or registers a business entity with the state. Individuals and businesses can serve as their own registered agents, but it’s generally a good idea to use a service with a physical address (not a PO Box) that is open during normal business hours.

If you have multiple locations or plan to expand into other states, choosing a service that provides national registered agent services can save time and money since they’re recognized nationally. It also simplifies compliance since all documents and notices are sent through one company, and renewals can be made with just one payment.

Having a registered agent is an important compliance requirement that prevents your personal or business address from appearing in public records, and it protects you from losing valuable privacy. It’s also an essential tool to have if you ever get served with a lawsuit. A registered agent can receive service of process on your behalf and notify you immediately of any action that needs to be taken.

Service of Process

When a business designates someone to accept service of process and important government notices on its behalf, that person or entity is known as its registered agent. A registered agent can be an individual, a legal service or a company that is authorized to do business in the state where the business is registered.

The reason the state requires businesses to appoint registered agents is that it gives the public, courts and government a way to contact a business when it has a legal complaint against it or if the business wants to file an important document with the state. If your registered agent isn’t available to receive these documents, you could miss important deadlines or lose a court case.

In general, the preferred method of service for a lawsuit is personal delivery. However, the law allows for a substitute form of service in some states and situations. For example, New York allows for a paper to be left with a person of suitable age and discretion at the named party’s usual residence or actual place of business.


Using a third-party registered agent service provides several benefits to business owners, including privacy. Having the third-party act as an agent means that personal information is not available for anyone to access, and it also keeps businesses from having to disclose their actual address publicly. This is important in situations where a home-based business owner would be embarrassed to have legal action served at their house in front of customers or clients.

Many larger organizations choose to use a single provider for all of their registered agent services. This not only ensures consistency, but it can also help them reduce cost and save time as they grow or enter new markets. Regardless of the size of the organization, it is important to choose a registered agent that will be available during normal business hours and be willing to accept official documents on behalf of the company. This will ensure that the company can respond to any notifications in a timely manner.

Timely Notification

If you’re a business owner, it can be challenging to keep up with legal paperwork and important compliance deadlines. A commercial registered agent service can help you by ensuring that all official correspondence is promptly handled and relayed to you. This can help you avoid costly fines for missing filing deadlines and ensure that you’re not left blindsided by a lawsuit or other legal action.

While it is technically legal for a business to act as its own registered agent, there are many reasons why you might not want to do this. For one, your personal address will become public record, which can be a concern if you’re running a home-based business or have a strict privacy policy.

Additionally, if you get served with a lawsuit, it can be embarrassing to have your spouse or an employee present in person while the process is happening. A registered agent can provide you with a sense of privacy and peace of mind.

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