A North Dakota Registered Agent is a state resident or business entity who agrees to receive service of process on behalf of a North Dakota LLC. Service of process generally includes legal notifications like those pertaining to lawsuits, summons, and subpoenas.
These documents are delivered by people called process servers. Once the documents are handed to the registered agent, the court system assumes that the LLC has been notified. For process servers to deliver these documents, the Registered Agent (RA) must maintain a physical address in the state.
Apart from service of process, the RA may also receive official communication from the state, these include payment reminders and tax notices.
It is mandatory for every LLC to appoint and continuously maintain a registered agent in North Dakota. The North Dakota Secretary of State will not accept an LLC’s Articles of Organization if a registered agent isn’t appointed. Additionally, failure to maintain an RA can have legal and administrative consequences.
Requirements And Responsibilities Of A North Dakota Registered Agent
There are a couple of necessities that the ND registered agent must fulfill to qualify for the role. These are simple enough and are designed to make the process easier. LLCs enjoy considerable freedom in choosing their RA as fulfilling the legal requirements is easy.
- The registered agent must have a physical street address in North Dakota. PO Box addresses or similar services aren’t accepted.
- If the agent is a person, he or she should be a resident of the state and capable of receiving legal documents.
- If the agent is a business, it must have permission to do business in the state.
Though businesses can act as registered agents, North Dakota doesn’t allow an LLC to be its own registered agent. Additionally, most businesses that work as registered agents are designed to work in that capacity. These are called commercial registered agents and offer their services for a fee.
As with any other responsibility, merely hiring an agent who’s legally qualified for the role isn’t the best approach. You need someone who can discharge the duties responsibly and dependably. While there are a lot of things for an agent to do, there are a few that the agent must handle.
- The RA must maintain a physical address for the LLC. This is the registered office of the company where service of process and certified mail are delivered.
- The agent must be available at the office during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm). This is the time when service of process usually arrives.
- If service of process arrives, the agent must receive it and immediately inform the company.
- The agent must receive official communication from the state and inform the LLC.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent? Deciding Whom To Pick
Seeing the requirements and responsibilities, one might wonder if they can appoint themselves as the registered agent. The answer is yes, you can be your own registered agent. There are a number of possibilities, but most LLCs usually make the following choices.
- You can be your own registered agent.
- It is possible to appoint family members or friends to this role.
- You can hire a commercial registered agent.
Whatever path you take, make sure that the agent is competent and dependable enough to fulfill their responsibilities.
The role of a registered agent is often time-bound. If service of process were to arrive, you’d ideally want to be in the know as soon as possible. Similarly, official communication from the state must reach the company on time. These things can make a huge difference towards the functioning of the LLC, and might even affect its liability protection.
Being Your Own Registered Agent
The biggest advantage of being your own registered agent is the monetary cost. You can be your own registered agent for $0. Similarly, family members or friends could be appointed to the role.
Drawbacks to this approach lie in professionalism, dependability, and privacy. Though there are other factors, the aforementioned usually hold the key.
For a regular individual working as the registered agent, it might get difficult to maintain a presence at the registered office continuously. You might be away on a vacation, running errands, or otherwise unavailable when service of process arrives. Even if the chances of this happening are low, things could get troublesome if it were to happen.
As for privacy, the details of the registered agent on file with the secretary of state become part of the public record. This means that these are freely available to anyone who bothers to look. And as we already know, there are plenty of businesses and companies that will farm this data.
The privacy and dependability implications might deter many people from being their own registered agent. On the other hand, if these things don’t bother you, it might be a good idea to save some money and be your own agent.
Hiring A Commercial Registered Agent In North Dakota
For many LLCs, implied qualities of convenience, dependability, and professionalism encourage them to hire commercial registered agents. Another aspect is when someone’s setting up a foreign LLC in ND.
In this case, you might not have a residence in the state and may not know anyone well enough to ask them to be your registered agent. Besides, hiring a commercial agent can be a much better choice logistically.
There is a fee involved in hiring North Dakota commercial registered agents. While the exact amount can vary depending on the agent and the services on offer, it usually lies in the range of $50 to $300.
Commercial agents can offer a lot, and indeed, you should expect more from a commercial agent. However, the minimum expectations from your commercial agent should be:
- Professional Service
- Discreet Service
The North Dakota SOS maintains a list of registered agents in the state.
Changing Your LLC’s Registered Agent In ND
Filing the “Commercial or Noncommercial Registered Agent Statement of Change” form with the secretary of state makes it possible to change your North Dakota Registered Agent. The paper form has a filing fee of $10 and can be submitted via postal mail, fax, or in-person.
It is usually more convenient to use the FirstStop online filing system on the North Dakota secretary of state website. You can also change the RA by filing an amendment, but that is more complex and expensive than filing a statement of change.