What this is: Awww, Valentine’s Day. The season of love. Do you love your registered agent and all of the legal and tax documents they receive on your behalf? Do you adore their entity management system and draw hearts on their annual report reminders?
What this means: Well, maybe not that much, but there are plenty of reasons to really, really “like” them. Below are seven perks to appointing a registered agent and what qualities to look for in the agent of your dreams!
1) Legal Compliance
A registered agent ensures that your business is in compliance with state laws by accepting legal documents and notifications on your behalf. But you can’t just retain a registered agent and never speak to them again. Avoid big problems by keeping your information with them current! If you don’t, the communication lines break down, and time sensitive documents or information may go to the wrong place – at the wrong time.
2) Professional Representation
A registered agent isn’t just a perk – it’s a mandate by the state in most cases. But you can’t hire just anyone to perform this service. Appointing a national registered agent company who can represent your business by receiving and forwarding important legal documents in all the states where you do business will give your organization a more professional image. Read The Do’s and Don’ts of Working With A Registered Agent to learn more.
3) Privacy Protection
One of the roles of a registered agent is to help protect your privacy by keeping your personal contact information private and forwarding legal documents to you discreetly. The last thing you want is an unintended person receiving sensitive legal pleadings. And COVID-era trends are making privacy more important than ever.
A registered agent is available during regular business hours to accept legal documents, ensuring that your business does not miss important deadlines. In the event that your entity is involved in a legal action, legal documents may be served upon the office of the registered agent. You can count on your registered agent to forward the documentation to the most recent legal contact it has on record.
A registered agent can forward legal documents to you electronically, making it easy for you to stay informed about your business's legal matters. And with a good entity management system, your registered agent will be able to maintain good corporate governance practices by uploading all your core company records and track due dates for business licenses, permits and other registrations effortlessly. Keep your entities in good standing and meet closing or lender reporting deadlines with ease.
6) Cost Effectiveness
Using a registered agent can be more cost-effective than maintaining a physical office for the purpose of receiving legal documents. Beyond satisfying the registered agent legal requirement, scope out what other services are available to help manage your entities and stay in compliance. Does your prospective service provider offer filing services to restore your entity’s good standing? Can they file annual/periodic reports or legalize/authenticate documents for international transactions? Depending on the nature of your business, it can save significant time and money to work with one provider who covers a wide range of these corporate services beyond acting as your registered agent.
7) Peace of Mind
A registered agent can give you peace of mind by handling your business's legal matters efficiently, so you can focus on growing your business. A registered agent or a commercial registered agent should be more than an annual bill and a name on your entity forms to fulfill your state requirements. Your registered agent should offer the freedom to choose, the flexibility to customize and real help for what you need. Your registered agent should be adept at meeting deadlines, managing your entity information and filings, handling your most sensitive legal communications and providing comprehensive online tools.
Can I use a “virtual” registered agent?
Many states require that a communications contact, or authorized contact for receiving communications from a company's registered agent, be a 'natural person'. For some states, failure to provide your registered agent with the name of a person designated as the communications contact may mean the registered agent will be required to resign its appointment.
A natural person is a living person with a name, address and phone number. Most often, this individual will be an officer, director, employee or designated agent (other than the registered agent) of the company who is authorized to receive communications from the registered agent. There are currently six states that statutorily require the designation of a ‘real’ or ‘natural person’ to receive communications from their agent, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Oklahoma and Wyoming. You can read more in this article, You Make Me Feel Like a… Natural Person?
How important is having a competent entity management system?
When you are managing multiple companies, you want an easy way to keep track of critical government communications and any service of process. Check whether a registered agent service company offers a robust entity management system that will help you stay on top of annual report, and other important deadlines. Is it offered free of charge as part of your statutory representation service or is there an additional fee for access?
Also see if your entity management system includes securely storing, locating, reviewing and sharing detailed entity information and documents anytime, anywhere? Data like formation and qualification dates, organizational ID and Tax ID numbers, representation appointment/renewal dates, entity status and next annual report due dates. Or service of process summary and copies of documents served, and license and registration renewal dates.
Find out more at our resource page Your Global Entity Management System.
What are the registered agent responsibilities when they are the contacts for service of process, tax and communications?
Service of Process Contact
A registered agent should receive and forward legal documents, such as notice of a lawsuit in the form of a Summons & Complaint and other court papers (a/k/a Services of Process or “SOP”).
The registered agent should receive and forward official correspondence (i.e., annual report and franchise tax notices of upcoming due dates) in all states where your company is qualified to do business.
As required by statute, you must have a communications contact on record who is authorized to receive communications from the registered agent in a number of states, including Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
This contact may be contacted by law enforcement if there are questions about the entity or its beneficial owners.
To read more, including the consequences if the contact information isn’t correct, Avoid Big Problems: Keep Contact Information Current with Your Registered Agent!
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered, or relied upon, as legal advice.