Appointing and maintaining an Alabama Registered Agent is a legal necessity for every LLC in the state. A registered agent is a person or a business entity (e.g. a corporation) that agrees to receive service of process on behalf of an LLC.
Service of process involves legal documents like a notice of a lawsuit, summons, subpoenas, etc. These are delivered in person by process servers. As such, the agent must be available at their address to receive the documents. Thus, it is mandatory for a registered agent to maintain a physical address in the state.
An LLC’s registered agent in Alabama may also receive important communication from the state. These include business and tax notices, payment reminders, etc.
Legal Requirements For Alabama Registered Agent
Before you appoint a registered agent for your Alabama LLC, consider if they meet the requirements for the role. These are:
- The registered agent must have a physical street address in Alabama. This will be the registered office of the LLC. PO Box addresses or similar can’t be used.
- An adult who is a legal resident of Alabama.
- A business entity that is allowed to do business in Alabama and maintains a physical office in the state.
In most cases, the business entity is a commercial registered agent. These are businesses that act as your Alabama LLC’s registered agent for a fee.
Who Should Be My Alabama LLC’s Registered Agent
As you’d have noticed, the Alabama state legal requirements leave the field wide open for appointing a registered agent. As long as the requirements are met, the following can possibly work as the registered agent.
- You can be your Alabama LLC’s registered agent.
- Your family members or friends can take on the role.
- You can hire a commercial registered agent,
As already noted, commercial registered agents charge a fee for their services. The exact fee can vary depending on the agent and the service. However, it is usually somewhere between $100-$300 annually.
Expectations And Responsibilities From A Registered Agent
The Alabama registered agent doesn’t have to be a full-time employee of the company. However, their job requires constant attention and responsibility. Some expectations to have from your registered agent are:
- Continuously maintain a physical street address (registered office) for your LLC.
- Be available during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm) to receive service of process.
- If service of process arrives, the agent should receive it and forward it to the LLC quickly.
- In case of communication from the state, the Alabama registered agent should receive and forward the relevant correspondence to the LLC.
As we notice, correspondence is a big part of the registered agent’s responsibilities. However, the LLC shouldn’t direct its general mail and correspondence to the agent. Instead, keep the agent free for receiving service of process or notices from the state.
Things To Know Before Being Your Own Registered Agent
If you have a physical address in Alabama, you could very well be your own registered agent. That could save the money you spend on hiring a commercial agent. But, there’s a reason that commercial agents are so popular. Apart from the benefits of hiring commercial agents, there are risks to consider for being your own registered agent.
The first thing to consider is availability. A registered agent should be available during normal business hours on all working days if service of process arrives. That can be difficult if you or your friends/family work as the registered agent. Individuals often need to step out. Or, you might be on vacation or otherwise unavailable when service of process arrives.
Chances of such a thing happening are low, but the risk is a factor to consider.
Privacy is another aspect. The details of the registered agent become part of the public record in Alabama. This means your address will be easily searchable and available to anyone who looks for it.
Many people aren’t comfortable with the implications of having their personal details being so easily available. If these situations bother you, being a registered agent might not be the right fit!
Hiring A Commercial Registered Agent In Alabama
Several commercial registered agents offer their services in the state. You can do a conventional web search to see the agent that is the right fit for you. Alternatively, you can visit the Alabama Secretary of State website, which keeps a list of the registered agents in the state. The list is available on the business downloads section of the secretary of state website.
Before you hire a commercial agent, consider looking for reviews from previous and existing customers. These should give you a good idea of the quality of service of a registered agent.
Hiring a commercial registered agent usually offers the following benefits:
- Professional Service: The agent is likely to maintain a fully staffed office. This means they’ll be able to receive the service of process and deal with its necessary requirements.
- Reliability: You can expect the agent to receive the service of process and forward it to the LLC as soon as possible.
- Discreet: Service of process will arrive at the address of the registered agent. For many businesses, being served by process servers in front of employees, clients, or customers can be embarrassing. This can make things simpler.
- Privacy: Since the address of the commercial registered agent is the one being used on public record, your personal details can stay private.
- Convenient: It is usually more convenient to hire an agent than to take on the role yourself. You can focus on your business, while the agent handles service of process and similar communication.
How To Change Your LLC’s Alabama Registered Agent
Changing your LLC’s registered agent requires filing appropriate forms with the secretary of state. It requires filing a form for Change of Registered Agent or Registered Office by Entity available on the business downloads section of the SOS website.
The filing fee for this form is $100 and it can be filed via postal mail, email, or in-person. This form should be filed by the entity (Alabama LLC) seeking to change its registered agent. The new agent must provide their written consent in accepting the role.
To ensure that things go smoothly, you can also file the Agent Resignation form, to indicate that the previous Alabama registered agent has resigned. This can help keep things streamlined.