Before an LLC in Maine files for its Certificate of Formation, it must appoint a Maine Registered Agent. This is an agent for the service of process in the state. A Maine LLC’s agent can be a person or a business entity.
Apart from service of process, the agent may also receive official correspondence from the state. These can include tax notices, payment reminders, and more. To receive service of process and certified mail, the Registered Agent (RA) must maintain a physical street address in Maine.
An LLC must appoint and continuously maintain a Maine Registered Agent. Interestingly, Maine often uses the term “commercial clerk” to represent a person or business that works as the agent of an LLC. The term “registered agent” is usually applied to commercial registered agents or business entities.
For all practical purposes, the Maine Commercial Clerk is the same as the Maine Registered Agent.
Maine Registered Agent – Requirements And Responsibilities
Like all other states, Maine has some straightforward and simple legal requirements that qualify other people or business entities as registered agents.
- A Maine Registered Agent must have a physical street address in the state. P.O. Box addresses or similar services aren’t accepted.
- If the agent is a person, she or he must be capable of receiving legal documents.
- If the agent is a business, they must have permission to conduct business in the state.
It’s not difficult to stay true to these requirements. Therefore, the LLC has plenty of freedom in deciding its registered agent.
However, this isn’t a perfunctory position, even if the RA need not (necessarily) be a full-time employee of the LLC. Receiving legal documents and official mail is a position that shouldn’t be underestimated. So when making a choice for the appointment, the LLC must consider if the RA is capable of the following.
- Maintain a physical address for the LLC. This is the registered office of the company where service of process and official mail is delivered.
- Be available at the registered office during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm) in case service of process arrives.
- Receive service of process if it arrives and inform the LLC as soon as possible.
- Receive any official communication from the state and inform the LLC.
Time sensitivity is an important aspect to note. Not only should the registered agent be available during business hours, they should also inform the LLC quickly if service of process or other time-bound documents arrive.
Service of process includes legal documents, including notice of a lawsuit, summons, etc. These are delivered by people called process servers. Once a process server delivers the documents to the RA, the LLC is assumed to have been notified.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In ME?
Absolutely. You’ll still have to fulfill the legal requirements listed above, but there’s nothing else preventing you from being your own registered agent. While this is not an exhaustive list, most LLC organizers have the following options for picking an agent.
- You can be your own registered agent.
- You can appoint family members or friends to that role.
- Hire a commercial registered agent.
Being your own commercial registered agent or having family/friends do it is usually much cheaper than hiring a commercial agent.
But before you take the plunge, hold up and objectively consider if you (or family/friends) are actually capable of taking on this job. You don’t just need to fulfill the legal requirements, the responsibilities are as important.
An RA failing to receive the service of process and/or forgetting to inform the LLC of any (received) service of process can cause big trouble. Process servers being unable to reach the registered agent doesn’t mean the LLC can’t be sued. In fact, there’s a good probability, that a lawsuit against the LLC will proceed without the company even knowing!
Who To Appoint As The Registered Agent?
Reliability And Privacy Concerns
You can save money being your own registered agent. However, can you (or family/friends) actually be reliable enough for the job? As discussed, failing to receive service of process can be very problematic. And this is where reliability comes in.
Individuals can have trouble keeping up with consistently manning the registered office of the company. You may want to go out on a vacation, step out with friends, or be on an errand when service of process arrives. The chance of this happening is low, but it’s there anyway.
You might also want to look into your privacy. The address and details of the RA are part of the public record in ME. This means your address is freely available to anyone who wants to look for it. This might not be a desirable circumstance for many people – if only to avoid junk mail.
Hiring a registered agent might be useful in these cases. They’re likely to be more professional, reliable, and can protect your privacy/address. On the other hand, if these situations don’t seem problematic, you can go ahead and be your own registered agent.
Foreign LLCs In Maine And Registered Agents
If you’re setting up a foreign LLC in Maine, there’s a good chance you don’t have an address in the state, or don’t have any trustworthy family/friends to appoint as the agent. At this point, the best choice is to hire a well-regarded registered agent.
While the example specifically calls out foreign LLCs, domestic LLCs (companies native to Maine) often hire commercial agents. The idea usually is to take advantage of the professionalism and reliability of these agents.
Hiring Commercial Registered Agent In Maine
Your commercial registered agent search in Maine will lead you to several businesses offering their services. The pricing varies quite significantly as well, with most falling in the range of $50-$300. Usually, the pricing depends on the services offered as well as the agent.
You should do some due diligence before making a hiring decision. Just like other businesses, not all registered agents are the same. And with a time-sensitive role like that of the registered agent, being more careful is important. Your decision shouldn’t be based on monetary considerations alone. Pay more attention to the capabilities and dependability of the agent.
At the very least, you should expect the following from the agent:
- Professional Service
Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions maintains a list of Commercial Clerks and Commercial Registered Agents. This might be a good place to start.
Changing Your Maine Registered Agent
Changing the registered agent in Maine requires filing the appropriate forms with the Department of the Secretary of State. Since Maine differentiates between commercial and non-commercial agents, there are separate forms for each. However, each form has a filing fee of $35.
Statement of Appointment or Change of Commercial Registered Agent (Form MLLC-3-CRA) is used for commercial agents. On the other hand, Statement of Appointment or Change of Noncommercial Registered Agent uses Form MLLC-3-NCRA. These and other relevant forms are available on the Limited Liability Companies section at the website for the Department of Secretary of State.