It isn’t difficult to change your LLC’s registered agent. However, you need to do it correctly in order to avoid compliance issues.
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A registered agent is a person or business who receives and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. It is possible to change your registered agent after you initially form your LLC.
Changing Your Company’s Registered Agent
If you already have a registered agent, you can change it later by filing a form provided by your state's business services office. The state may or may not charge a small fee.
Some states require a sign consent form when changing registered agents, so be sure to submit one if you have to. Below, read about the specific steps for changing registered agents in your state:
- Washington D.C.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Reasons for Changing Your Registered Agent
Even if you start out as your own registered agent, you may decide you want to elect a professional registered agent service instead. This has several benefits, one of which is privacy.
That’s because your registered agent service’s address — not your personal or office address — will be listed on the public record. This is especially important to consider if your business operates out of your home.
Even if you don’t run your business from home, a registered agent service will prevent you from being served with a lawsuit or some other potentially embarrassing document in front of your employees or customers.
A registered agent service can also:
- Help you with legal compliance by sending filing reminders and keeping copies of your important documents as a backup.
- Allow you to work your own hours instead of having to be available during regular business hours to receive documents.
- Provide peace of mind because you know that important documents are being received and forwarded appropriately.
- Allow you to form an LLC in any other state if you hire a national registered agent service with a physical presence in all 50 states.
What to do Before Changing Your Registered Agent
Be sure you know exactly who your new registered agent will be before filing the paperwork to change registered agents. Fines or even dissolution could result if you fail to have a registered agent for your business for any length of time.
Who Can Be Your New Registered Agent?
If you’ve decided to change your registered agent, you have a few different options. Registered agents have to meet the following requirements:
- be 18 years or older
- have a physical address in the state where the business is conducted
- be available during normal business hours
Common Ways to Change Your Registered Agent
The easiest way to change your registered agent is by filing your state's version of a Change of Registered Agent or Registered Office form. You can do this online in some states, while others require you to mail a physical form. Check your state in the list above for more specific details.
Another way to change registered agents is to do so when you file your annual report (if required in your state) or by filing a legal amendment for your business. However, these methods are more difficult, time-sensitive, and expensive.
How to Change Registered Agents Frequently Asked Questions
Can I be my own registered agent?
It is possible to be your own registered agent. You could also choose to elect a member of your LLC, or even a friend you trust, as long as the person meets these requirements:
- is 18 years or older
- has a physical address in the state where the business is conducted
- is available during normal business hours
Another option would be to hire a professional registered agent service. One of the disadvantages is that it is more expensive than acting as your own. However, using a service helps you avoid any fees or further legal trouble caused by missing or misplacing an important document or notice. This can actually save you more time and money in the long run.
Who can be a registered agent?
Anyone can be a registered agent as long as the assigned person or entity is available on weekdays, during regular business hours (i.e., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), and at the given registered agent address. This is important in case of a lawsuit and to remain compliant with legal forms and deadlines.
Although you can be your own registered agent, we recommend you consider hiring an experienced and reliable registered agent service like ZenBusiness, Incfile, or Northwest to handle this portion of your business needs.
How much does an LLC registered agent cost?
A registered agent service can cost anywhere from $50 to $300, but hiring a registered agent service will save you time and money in the long run.
How much does it cost to change my registered agent?
Changing your registered agent can cost from $0 to $50 per state depending on the number of states you’re registered in to do business with your LLC.