Starting a new business requires attention to many details. You’ll make decisions about locations, business structure, and so on. As you register your business with the Rhode Island Secretary of State, you may be asked to name a registered agent. Your first reaction may be, “What is a registered agent?” This article will answer that question.
Most states require a business that registers as a legal entity to have a registered agent.
But, what is a registered agent?
Registered agent may be individuals or corporations. For some corporations, registered agent services are their primary business.
The agent receives legal documents and service of process (like a summons or subpoena) for the business. Registered agents might even file documents for the business or remind them of annual reports and filings the business needs to make. For example, The ABC Corporation is headquartered in Cranston, Rhode Island. When they register with the Rhode Island Secretary of State, they name RegisteredAgent, LLC, as their registered agent. If ABC Corporation is sued, the lawsuit and summons will be served on RegisteredAgent, LLC. It’s their job, then, to forward the summons and related papers to ABC Corporation.
Why Use a Registered Agent?
It is possible in most states to serve as your own registered agent. However, many companies hire a company that specializes in providing this service to companies. There are a number of reasons a business might hire a registered agent instead of handling it in-house:
- Official notices, subpoenas, and summons. After receipt, your registered agent will forward them to your company for processing.
- Official Deadlines. Depending on your business structure, you may have to file annual reports or quarterly returns. A registered agent typically tracks these dates for you.
- Physical Address. Web-based businesses may not have a physical address or may use your home address. Using a registered agent means you have an actual location for official papers to be sent and your home address stays out of it.
- Normal Business Hours. Some companies work odd hours. A registered agent is required to be open during normal business hours.
- Multi-State Business. Companies that operate in more than one state need to register in each state. It’s also typically required for foreign companies to have a physical address in each state of operation. Hiring a registered agent gives you that physical address.
Does Your Business Need a Registered Agent?
The attorneys at Lambros Law Offices have the skill and experience to help you start your business out on the right foot. To schedule an appointment, call us at 401-383-9899 or use our convenient Contact Form. Although located in Cranston, we assist clients throughout Providence and Kent Counties.