What is an Agent for Service of Process (Registered Agent)?

The Agent for Service of Process: What Businesses Need to Know

Most businesses in the U.S., particularly corporations and LLCs, are required by law to designate what is known as an agent for service of process. Although it can sound complicated, it’s actually quite simple. Let’s get into it.

What is an agent for service of process or “registered agent”?

An agent for service of process, also known as a registered agent, is an individual person or entity designated by a business to receive legal documents and notices on behalf of the company. These legal documents typically include lawsuits, summons, subpoenas, and other official notifications related to legal proceedings.

All states require business entities to name an agent for service of process, to ensure that businesses have a reliable point of contact for receiving legal documents and notices, thus facilitating due process and legal proceedings.

Who can be listed as an agent for service of process?

The agent for service of process must be an individual or entity with a physical address within the jurisdiction where the business operates. In some jurisdictions, a business may designate one of their officers or directors as the agent.

Using a professional registered agent service is generally not required, although it does allow for additional privacy and convenience. Designating a professional agent for service of process helps protect the privacy and security of the business owners and executives by providing a separate point of contact for legal matters.

What are the responsibilities of the agent?

The agent for service of process is responsible for promptly receiving legal documents and forwarding them to the appropriate individuals within the business. It is essential for the agent to maintain accurate records of all legal documents received and to ensure that the business is notified promptly of any legal actions or notices.

Related Pages

Guide to Business Structures

Guide to the Law for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

For help with your business structure, contact a business lawyer.


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