Startup Tips: Things you Never Knew About Registered Agents
What is a Registered Agent? We take a closer look at what you should know about startups and their agents, with TRUiC:
What is a Registered Agent Used for?
A registered agent has a variety of uses. Generally speaking, they will accept legal documents for a business. This can include tax paperwork, annual reports, government communications, and any legal documents including someone taking a lawsuit against the company. It would be your registered agent’s role to communicate with the business owner about any paperwork that comes through to them on behalf of their company that they need to know about or address. The business owner would work with them to resolve any issues that come through and make sure all legal paperwork goes through them as a buffer to not only make sure everything is correct, but to be sent to the government on the company’s behalf. A webpage called TRUiC is a wealth of knowledge on all things business and specifically what you’d need to know about registered agents. Visit their website to take a look and find a registered agent.
Who can be a Registered Agent?
A Registered Agent or Statutory Agent can be anyone who is qualified to do the job, but there are some things business owners should know before selecting someone for this role. A registered agent should be someone who has a physical address within the state the business is in. They can either be someone the business owner has appointed or a state qualified legal agent to do the work for them. If the business decides to appoint an individual, it can be virtually anyone as long as they have an address within the state. This means it could be a manager the company already has, it could be someone outside the company, or it could even be the business owner themselves. The owner would have to decide what is best for them. If they have a larger company, they may have too much work to take on this task themselves, so they may want to appoint it to someone else. If they are concerned that they don’t have someone on staff who knows enough about how to do this job correctly, they may want to lean toward a state qualified agent instead. Having a registered agent is an important piece having limited liability as this keeps all communications or legal documents going to an appointed person that represents the business rather than coming for the business owner directly. This is especially useful in the case of lawsuits and other larger matters.
Should a company hire a professional or do the job themselves?
This decision would be completely up to the business owner to decide. There are some advantages to hiring a state agent rather than doing the job themselves or having someone in their company do it. A registered agent’s name and physical address would be easily accessible to anyone who is researching the company. If a business owner chooses to do this themselves, their own name and address would be public information. Having a state agent do the job would take some eyes off of them directly. Another aspect to think about is flexibility. Though we may be talking about small businesses, some of these companies still have multiple locations. Let’s say a company has franchised within their own state and has three locations. The business owner may need to occasionally visit some of their other sites rather than stay in one location all the time, but a registered agent needs to be available to handle any incoming communication regularly which means they need to be at their physical address typically from 9-5 Monday through Friday. If a business owner does the job themselves, they wouldn’t be able to travel to their other sites as much or as freely as they would if they had an agent doing the job. Another point to consider is organization. Starting a new company can be messy.
Of course, any business owner or manager is going to do their best to keep all important documents safe and filed where they need to be, but we shouldn’t pretend mistakes dont happen. It’s a lot easier for a manager or business owner to misplace something in all of the movement that happens when a company first opens or grows. Hiring a state agent would ensure that any documents are safe and well taken care of since it’d be their primary job duty to keep track of things for the business. This allows business owners or managers to focus on their actual business and not have to worry about this aspect of their company.