Every LLC in California must appoint and maintain a registered agent in the state. The California Registered Agent is a person or business entity that agrees to receive service of process on behalf of your LLC.
Service of process involves receiving legal documents, especially in case if the LLC gets sued. This includes lawsuits, but also other legal documents like summons, subpoenas, and complaints.
The California Secretary of State may also use the Registered Agent as a general point of contact with the LLC. However, the primary requirement for requiring a registered agent is the service of process.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In California?
Picking a Registered Agent requires careful thought because this is a serious responsibility that can affect your LLC. So when dealing with this question, a lot of people wonder if they should handle the responsibility themselves.
If you’ve ever wondered “can I be my own registered agent in California”? The answer is yes. Technically, there are a lot of options for choosing a Registered Agent for your LLC. The state of California’s requirements for a registered agent is discussed ahead.
Who Can Be A Registered Agent In California?
A person or a business entity can take on the role of a Registered Agent. However, they must fulfill a few conditions:
- If the registered agent is a person, they must be at least 18 years of age.
- Business entities can be registered agents if they are allowed to do business in the state and maintain an office in California.
- Registered Agents must have a physical street address in California (PO Box addresses aren’t accepted).
It is expected that the registered agent maintains normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm). This ensures their availability in case service of process arrives. Process servers should be able to reach the agent without a hitch.
This way, the legal system can keep a track of the delivery of legal mail and court documents. Additionally, a competent CA registered agent for service of process can be helpful in ensuring that you don’t miss service of process or other important communication.
As long as these conditions are fulfilled, the registered agent for a California LLC can be any of the following:
- You can take on the role of the registered agent.
- Your friends or family could be the registered agents.
- It’s possible to hire a person or business to be the registered agent (commercial registered agents).
A commercial registered agent must be authorized to engage in business in California. Additionally, they should have good standing on record with the Secretary of State.
Registered Agents And Public Record
The name and address of a registered agent is the matter of public record. It will be published by the state and be freely available. Since public availability of their address might not be the desired choice for many people, considering the service of commercial registered agents becomes more appealing.
Privacy is an important concern, but proper handling of service of process and other documents requires unimpeachable service. If you choose to go the commercial route, make it a point to check California registered agent inc reviews. This should give you a few options and makes it possible to get an idea of the reliability of the agent.
When Do I Appoint A Registered Agent For My CA LLC?
Appointing a registered agent is one of the first steps in forming your CA LLC. The California Secretary of State requires for the name and address of the registered agent to be a part of the Articles of Organization. The state will not approve the articles without the appointment of a registered agent.
In fact, an LLC must continuously maintain a registered agent in the state. Failure to do so will lead to your CA LLC losing its good standing with the state. In a sense, the registered agent proves the existence of your LLC to the state.
If the state is unable to reach the registered agent, the LLC may stand to lose its business entity protections and even risk being administratively dissolved.
What Are Commercial Registered Agent Services And Why Does Anyone Need Them?
If you or your friends/family can take on the role of a registered agent, why bother with hiring a commercial registered agent? Well, that’s because there can be some risks and difficulties in having a person serve as the registered agent. Even if the risk is low, there is a risks involved.
The most troublesome part is the scenario where you or your friends/family (as registered agents), fail to receive the service of process. There could be several reasons for this, including:
- You aren’t available during normal business hours.
- You are on vacation and thus can’t receive the service of process.
- The registered agent (you or your friends/family) moved, but forgot to file a change of address.
Missing the service of process can have serious consequences. In some cases, a lawsuit against your CA LLC might proceed without you even being aware of it!
All of this makes it necessary to consider hiring a commercial registered agent. At the very least, this can reduce some of the risk involved and bring more professionalism to the role.
Salient Points Of Hiring A Commercial Registered Agent
There are several advantages of hiring commercial registered agents for your California LLC. These are:
- Convenience: Hiring a commercial agent means you don’t have to worry about staying available for service of process. The agent handles that for you.
- Privacy: The address of the registered agent becomes part of the public record. By hiring an agent, you can keep your address private.
- Professional Service: Capable commercial agents handle their job with the professionalism and discretion it demands. They can be adept and quick at forwarding relevant communication to you. Additionally, your company’s information is treated with confidence.
- Ease Of Business: With one part of the requirements handled, you can concentrate on running your LLC rather than on the red tape. Additionally, if you decide to expand your CA LLC to other states, having a national registered agent can come in handy when registering your foreign LLC in another state.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Commercial Registered Agent?
Hiring a commercial registered agent obviously involves a cost component. You’ll have to pay them for their service. However, it is usually a worthwhile investment. Pricing can vary, but it can often run into a few hundred dollars.
As with other services, you might be able to find a deal or discount that reduces the amount you have to pay. It helps to shop around a bit!
Secretary Of State’s Office As The Substitute Registered Agent
Under specific circumstances, the office of the secretary of state can work as a substitute registered agent for California LLCs. This usually happens when attempts at service of process have failed and it is believed that a reasonably diligent effort was made to deliver the service of process.
Alternatively, a court might direct for service of process to be delivered to the office of the secretary of state in Sacramento.
In this case, the service of process won’t be delivered to your LLC via mail. You (or someone from your company) will have to visit the office to collect the service of process, a copy of the court order permitting this service, and a $50 charge for the amount.
Changing Your Registered Agent In California
California makes it possible to change the registered agent, or to update relevant information. A good chunk of this information can be completed online. There is no filing fee. Additionally, this ensures that the state can easily reach the registered agent when and if needed.
What Is A Statutory Agent?
California LLC registered agents could be known by several names or terms. These include resident agent, statutory agent, and agent for service of process. A few other terms might be used too, but they are not as common.