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What is a Registered Agent and Do I Need One to Form a Company?

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Starting a business brings up many questions; some fundamental questions include what type of business entity to choose, where you want to start your business and how to go about incorporating or registering your business. Every state has its own requirements for what must be included in an initial business filing. One common requirement is that a company arrange for a Registered Agent, whose name and address must be included on the initial filing.

What is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is a person or company selected by a business entity to accept service of process, legal documents and other official communications on behalf of the entity. Some states, such as New York, designate the Secretary of State as the registered agent for all companies, while other states require the business entity to designate their own registered agent. Depending on the requirements of the state and the type of business entity you set up, the Registered Agent may be any resident of the state that has a business or residential address or a business with an office in the state. A business cannot serve as its own registered agent, but a director, shareholder or member of the company can usually serve as the Registered Agent.

How do I Arrange for a Registered Agent if I am outside of the United States?

If you are a resident of the state where you want to start your business, you can usually serve as the Registered Agent for your company. Many of our clients who start businesses in the United States are not yet resident in the U.S. and in these situations they have the option to set up an account with a company that offers Registered Agent services in the state where the business is located. There are many companies in the U.S. that offer these services for a reasonable yearly fee.

Do I Need A Lawyer To Set Up My Business And Guide Me?

Getting a Registered Agent is just one step in setting up a new business and there are many steps. A lawyer can make sure that you adhere to all of the requirements and can also draft essential corporate or business entity documents (eg. Operating Agreement, Shareholder Agreements, etc.) on your behalf.  A lawyer can also guide you on the choice of business form which can have significant tax, financial and liability implications. At Scott Legal, P.C. our founder Ian E. Scott is a qualified C.P.A and a Lawyer! Let Scott Legal, P.C. be your guide.


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This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising. Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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