Registered Agents

Changing Registered Agents

Your registered agent is your corporate mailbox, a representative of your firm that receives any lawsuits or official communications on your behalf. So what happens if you decide to change your registered agent?

Corporations are required to designate an individual to be a registered agent, someone who is responsible for receiving critical legal and financial information from the state and other interests.

The process of selecting a registered agent shouldn't be taken lightly. It's not just bureaucratic red tape–the person you designate has responsibilities that carry significant consequences for your business.

Registered agents are required to have a physical address in the state and to be available during normal business hours. Although there aren't any legal limitations on who can serve as a registered agent, most companies designate their attorney, a key employee, a shareholder, or other outside interest. Sometimes corporations will also employ a registered agent service to fulfill this function for them.

Changing registered agents is relatively simple and straightforward. Here's what you need to know.

Reasons for Changing Registered Agents

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to change your company's registered agent. A change of attorneys, the resignation of an employee, or the move to or from a third party provider can all necessitate changing registered agents.

In theory, you can change registered agents as often as you like – as long as you are willing to complete the formal process and pay a modest change of agent fee. But the downside to frequently changing your registered agent is that the more often you change registered agents, the more likely it is that important documents will be lost in the shuffle.

Process for Changing Registered Agents

The rules governing registered agents are slightly different from one state to the next. Some states will issue documentation to verify a change of agents while others will make the change without notifying you that it has been finalized. So you will need to follow-up to make sure any changes have been finalized with the state.

To apply for a change of registered agents, most states will ask you to complete a document and pay a nominal fee. For example, in Georgia a change of registered agents is accomplished by filing an annual registration form and paying a $30 fee. The process is similar in other states and is accompanied by the signature of a corporate officer. Some states even offer online resources that make changing registered agents as convenient as possible.

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