What is a Resident Agent?

For More Information:


Here’s a question we get all the time: “What’s a resident agent? What are they, how do they work, and how do resident agents connect to my businesses?”

A resident agent (also called a registered agent) is tasked with being the legal face of a company. So if your company is being sued, a process server, or sometimes a sheriff, will physically go to the resident agent’s office to personally serve the documents. If documents are served by registered mail, then they will again come to the resident agent’s office. And it’s also a handy address for state and federal tax agencies to use, when they want to make sure that mail reaches the company’s owners.

All states, with the exception of West Virginia and New York, require companies either formed in-state or registered to do business in-state to have a resident agent. And, resident agents are required for all formally-incorporated entities (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Limited Partnerships, Professional Corporations, Non-Profits, and so on).

Resident agents need to be people, or a commercial company that offers resident agent service. A company cannot name itself as resident agent. Commercial operations offer service in a number of ways – by the month, by the year, or multiple years at a time. For example, when you buy a shelf company LLC from us, you receive a full year’s worth of resident agent service. We’re also happy to renew that service if it works for you.

Many people, especially those looking to keep a tight rein on costs, ask us about acting personally as the resident agent for their company. That’s certainly an option! Your company can’t act as its own resident agent, but there’s nothing stopping you from naming yourself personally. Being your LLC’s resident agent doesn’t convey any personal liability to you.

In many cases it’s a great idea … but not always!

For example, you have to provide a street address where someone can physically come and serve documents. That address needs to be somewhere members of the general public can get to. Unless you’ve got an outside office, that means putting your home address on the record. If you value your privacy, that may not be the way you want to go.

It can also be problematic if you live in a gated community or monitored apartment building, where the public doesn’t have free access.

Being a resident agent also means being around on a regular basis during working hours. That can create problems if you like to travel and are away from home a lot.

So, what happens if someone tries to serve documents on your company while you aren’t there? A process server will usually make a few attempts, and leave a card or other notice, asking you to give them a call.

But if you’re away for a lengthy period of time, you could have a problem. Process servers are allowed to go to court for an order giving them another way to serve documents. Typically this involves mailing the paperwork to you by registered mail, or even taping a copy to your front door. If you’re not around for days, and a process server thinks you’re trying to avoid service, he or she could go to court and get that order. You could come home from a couple of weeks in Tahiti to find out you’d been sued and lost, because you didn’t file a response in time.

On the other hand if you have an Internet-based business, like affiliate marketing, or something with little public interaction and low risk, and you’re around most of the time, then why not save some money by acting as your own resident agent? It’s all about the circumstances.

If you’ve got questions about whether or not a Nevada shelf company LLC can work for you, please feel free to drop us a line, to info@legalshelfcompany.com. We welcome your questions!