What is a Registered Agent?

When you’re starting a business, whether it be a limited liability company (LLC), a corporation, or some other business entity, you are going to have to list your company’s registered agent when you file the Articles of Organization/Incorporation.

So what is a registered agent? Simply put, the registered agent is the person who is going to get served (insert funny reference to the 2004 movie here) if the company is ever sued or issued a court summons. A little civil procedure education for you: when you sue somebody, you are required to serve them with process within a certain amount of days from when you file the complaint (the complaint is the document that basically gets the lawsuit ball a-rollin’). This way the person you are suing knows that they are being sued. So the registered agent is the person or business that will accept that service of process in the event of a lawsuit. That is the registered agent’s sole responsibility; they do not have any sort of ownership or management interest in the business just by virtue of being the registered agent.

And who can be a registered agent? The rules regarding registered agents will vary state-to-state. Colorado only requires that the person (if it is a person) be 18 years or older and have a primary residence in Colorado. You can also appoint a business as registered agent. Either way, the person or business must consent to being the registered agent and must have a physical address (i.e. not solely a PO box) in Colorado.

You have a few options when choosing your registered agent. 1) You/your business can be your own registered agent, or 2) there are a lot of companies/law offices (*hint hint*) that offer registered agent services. There’s nothing wrong with being your own registered agent. It is perfectly legal and won’t open you up to any more risk of liabilities. But let’s say, for example, you have a home office so you put yourself as registered agent and your home address as the registered agent’s address. If you ever get sued, you will have the process server knocking on your front door (which may be embarrassing if you have nosy neighbors). And Colorado allows the process server to leave the documents with any adult who resides at the registered address. So if your 18-year-old son is the lucky one to answer the door, the process server may leave the documents with him and he will have the responsibility of giving it to you. Or if you have a store front and use that as the registered office, you may get served while you have customers or clients around. Those are the pretty typical reasons not to be your own registered agent.

Outsourcing this to a registered agent company will help avoid those possible consequences and those companies are usually pretty reasonably priced. For example, I offer registered agent service in Colorado starting at just $150/year. These companies will also come in handy if you expand your business into another state or have offices/employees located in other states. Most states require that you register as a foreign LLC or foreign corporation if you do a lot of business in that state. That will require you to have a registered agent located in that state. So you will need to find a person or company who will consent to being your registered agent in that state.

It is important that your business has a registered agent who will be around during normal business hours and will alert you if/when you are served. Denver, Colorado business attorney Aiden Durham with 180 Law Co. LLC offers registered agent services starting at just $150 per year. Contact Aiden at (720) 379-3425 or to get started.

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