Every LLC must appoint a South Carolina Registered Agent before filing the articles of organization with the secretary of state. An LLC must continuously maintain a registered agent in the state.
A registered agent is a person or business entity who agrees to receive service of process on behalf of the LLC. Service of process generally involves legal documents like the notice of a lawsuit, subpoenas, summons, etc. These are delivered to the registered agent through process servers.
Once the registered agent receives the service of process, the court system deems the LLC to have been notified. This is a way for the court system to track the delivery of legal documents. As such, the registered agent must maintain a physical address where service of process can be delivered.
The agent might also receive documents from the state, like tax notices and payment reminders.
Who Can Be An SC Registered Agent
When appointing a registered agent in South Carolina, the LLC must consider their eligibility for the role. The state’s requirements are simple, which leaves LLCs plenty of options to choose their agent. The requirements to qualify as a registered agent are:
- A registered agent must maintain a physical address (registered office) where service of process can be reliably delivered.
- If the agent is a person, he/she must live in South Carolina and be able to receive legal documents.
- If the agent is a business entity, they must be allowed to do business in the state and maintain an office in SC.
In most cases, the business entity is a commercial registered agent. These are businesses that offer services as registered agents for a fee.
As you’d have noticed, the requirements give you a wide set of options in choosing the registered agent. Put that freedom to good use!
Choosing The Registered Agent For Your South Carolina LLC
Once the requirements are met, an LLC has a fairly large field of candidates to pick from. For example, the following could be your SC registered agent.
- You can be the registered agent of your LLC in South Carolina.
- It’s possible to appoint family members or friends to be the registered agent.
- The LLC can hire a commercial registered agent for the role.
Before appointing a registered agent, also consider their ability to take on the responsibilities that the role demands.
Responsibilities Of A Registered Agent
To discharge their duty effectively, the registered agent must be capable of handling the following requirements:
- The registered agent must maintain a physical address (registered office) for delivery of service of process.
- The agent must be available during normal working hours (9 am to 5 pm).
- A registered agent should receive the service of process and immediately inform the LLC of the same.
- Communication from the state and the service of process should be forwarded to the LLC quickly.
As we notice, even though the registered agent doesn’t have to be a full-time employee of the company, their duties are quite expansive. Also, the role is important and needs careful consideration.
Another point worth noting is that though the South Carolina registered agent is a point of contact between the state and the LLC, the agent isn’t a general contact. So, all communication of your LLC shouldn’t flow through the agent. Keep the normal communication to conventional channels and leave the agent to deal with service of process and notices from the state.
Things To Consider Before Becoming Your Own Registered Agent
Considering the requirements for registered agents, yes, you can be your LLC’s registered agent in the state. Or, you could appoint friends or family members to that role. However, before you take this role, consider if you’d be able to take on the responsibilities involved. There are finer points to consider too.
As an example, we know that the registered agent has to be available during normal business hours. But that can be tough for individuals to manage. Service of process could arrive when you’re away on vacation or otherwise unavailable. This could be troubling. Though the chances of this happening are low, the possibility can’t be ruled out.
Privacy is another aspect and one that many commercial agents advertise. The details of a registered agent become part of the public record. This means your name, address, etc. would be freely available to anyone willing to look for it. Most people don’t find the idea so appealing and are more interested in preserving their privacy.
If you believe these things won’t be a problem, you can be your South Carolina LLC’s registered agent. However, if it’s troublesome, hiring a commercial agent would be a better pick.
Hiring A South Carolina Commercial Registered Agent
Hiring a commercial registered agent is the choice most people make for their LLC. You might make this choice simply for convenience. Not being able to find someone you know who could discharge the duties is a good reason too.
Nevertheless, hiring a commercial registered agent is often an advantageous choice. Some of the benefits of choosing a commercial agent are:
- Professional Service: A commercial agent is likely to maintain a fully staffed office. They’d be able to receive service of process and handle it professionally.
- Reliable: You can expect commercial agents to reliably receive service of process and other documents and forward them to the LLC immediately. Their experience with these situations may prove to be useful.
- Convenience: Often, it is convenient to hire a registered agent while you focus on running your LLC.
- Privacy: Since it is the address and details of the commercial agent that are filed with the secretary of state, your own address can remain private.
Obviously, commercial agents charge a fee for their services. Several commercial registered agents offer their services in South Carolina. As such, the fee varies depending on the services and the agent. There is no fixed number, but you can expect most commercial agents to cost somewhere between $50-$500 annually.
Changing The South Carolina Registered Agent
Changing your South Carolina Registered Agent requires filing the Notice of Change form with the Secretary of State. The filing fee for this form is $10 and it can be submitted via mail or in-person. This is the simplest and most convenient way to change your registered agent in SC.
For the sake of being comprehensive, when you change the agent, also be sure to file a form for the Resignation of Agent for Service of Process.