Before you can file the Articles of Organization for your Michigan LLC, you’ll need to appoint a Michigan Registered Agent. This role belongs to a person or business entity that agrees to receive legal documents on behalf of an LLC.
In Michigan, the official term for a Registered Agent is Resident Agent. A Michigan Resident Agent is practically the same as the Registered Agent, which is a term widely used in most states. Since both terms are applicable, we will use them interchangeably.
The resident agent may also receive notices and documents from the state but their primary role remains to receive service of process. The delivery of legal documents like lawsuits, summons, subpoenas, etc. is called service of process.
Process servers will deliver relevant documents to the resident agent. This is how the court system knows that the documents have been delivered to the relevant party. As such, an LLC must maintain a registered agent in Michigan – and the agent should be available during normal business hours.
Necessary Requirements For An MI Resident Agent
Every LLC in Michigan must appoint and maintain a resident agent in the state at all times. This role can be taken by a person or a business entity (corporation or LLC), provided the following conditions are met:
- The registered agent must have a physical street address in Michigan. PO Box address or similar aren’t applicable.
- If the resident agent is a business entity, they must be allowed to do business in Michigan and have an office in the state.
This gives LLCs and their members quite a lot of freedom in selecting who the registered agent can be. For example, you could appoint yourself or a friend/family member to take on the role of the Registered Agent.
Many companies choose to go with hiring business entities for the role. This generally involves commercial registered agents, who offer their services for a fee.
Given these points, the following can be appointed as the registered agents for your LLC:
- You can be your LLC’s registered agent.
- A friend or family member can take on the role.
- You can hire a commercial registered agent.
Responsibilities Of A Michigan Registered Agent
A registered agent need not (necessarily) be a full-time employee of the LLC. In some sense, their role is limited to receiving and forwarding relevant documents, including service of process. However, this itself is an important and indispensable aspect of being a registered agent. Therefore, the MI registered agent should be up for a few responsibilities.
- The agent must maintain a physical street address (office) in Michigan.
- A registered agent should be available during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm).
- The agent must receive the service of process and immediately forward it to the LLC.
- Resident agents may receive notices and documents from the state. They should forward these to relevant people in the LLC.
Noting the role and responsibilities of a resident agent, it is possible to put greater thought into who should be the agent for your LLC. Commercial resident agents can easily cost upwards of $50 every year. Most of them easily go to $100+ in fees and expenses.
So it might seem beneficial to save that money and take on the role yourself or ask friends/family to do it. Seems straightforward, but there are plenty of considerations that lead many LLCs towards choosing commercial resident agents in MI.
Commercial Michigan Registered Agents – Are They Worth It?
As noted, it can be cost-effective for yourself or friends/family to be the Michigan Resident Agents. However, once you look at the responsibilities listed above, you’d see why it might not be as good an idea. Let’s scratch the surface a bit.
Privacy And Professionalism For Resident Agents
Michigan requires resident agents to maintain a registered office. It is assumed that the agent is available at this office and that the service of process can be delivered. For many people (you, friends, family) maintaining conventional office hours can be troublesome.
As an example, you might be away on a vacation or otherwise unavailable when process servers arrive. This may cause serious issues and is not a risk worth taking. To be fair, the chances of this scenario happening are extremely low. However, this is a risk to consider.
Another, and perhaps more relevant scenario to consider is the issue of privacy. The address and other relevant details of the resident agent become part of the public record. This can be bothersome for many people. They may not want their details available publicly and freely. Plus, there may also be a lot of spam and junk mail to deal with.
Privacy is a big reason why many people choose to hire commercial resident agents instead. With the commercial agent using their own address where applicable, there’s less for you to worry about in terms of privacy.
Hiring A Commercial Registered Agent In Michigan
Several commercial registered agents offer their services in Michigan. Several agents offer more services than simply receiving and forwarding the service of process and other mail. Of course, these services affect the pricing and cost of hiring the agent.
Your Michigan registered agent search should also involve checking reviews from existing and previous clients of an agent. That way, you can have a good idea of what quality of services to expect.
Some conventional advantages of hiring a commercial resident agent in Michigan are:
- Professional Service: A commercial resident agent is likely to have a fully staffed office. They’ll be well-aware of how to receive service of process and what to do with it.
- Discreet: Since a commercial agent won’t be at the same location as your LLC’s office, some privacy and discretion in service is available. For example, being served by process servers in front of clients or employees can be embarrassing. Hiring a commercial resident agent removes this problem.
- Convenient: It is more convenient to let a professional handle the tasks of a registered agent, rather than dealing with them yourself.
- Privacy: Since the commercial agent will use their own address in filings, your address doesn’t become a part of the public record. Hence, there are advantages in terms of privacy.
How To Change A Michigan Resident Agent?
To change its resident agent, an LLC should file relevant documents with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). A change on the resident agent or the resident office can be filed by completing and submitting Form CSCL/CD-520. This form can be submitted via mail or in person. The filing fee is $5.
It is also possible to change your Michigan Registered Agent when filing the annual report for your LLC. This process can be completed online using the LARA portal or you can file it via postal mail.
You should use this method only when it’s convenient, or the change in resident agent lines up with the time for filing the annual report. In other cases, it makes sense to file form CSCL/CD-520.