One of the questions we get from time to time is this: “What is a registered agent for a LLC or corporation?” Or, it might be varied to this: “What does a registered agent do for a LLC or corporation?” Both good questions, and we’ll answer those in today’s post.
Essentially, a registered agent is a stand-in for the LLC or corporation as the person who receives official communications, including being served with court papers, on behalf of the corporation or LLC. Think about it this way: If someone is suing you, the sheriff or process server comes and gives you the papers. Or, if someone needs to mail something official to you, they put it in the mail to you at your address. But a LLC or a corporation is essentially a fictional person created under the law. There is no one named “The Business, LLC” or “That Business, Inc.” But, since companies can sue and be sued, and have other elements of being, we need someone who can “stand-in” on behalf of the company. That’s what the registered agent does.
Under Georgia law, each corporation and LLC in the state has to designate a registered agent. This is a person (or a registered agent company) that has a designated address where official mail and service of process can be made. The registered agent is not necessarily responsible for responding to the items that he or she receives on behalf of the company, but will take those items and get them in the hands of management at the corporation or LLC so that appropriate responses can be made, as needed.
Georgia law also requires that the registered agent’s address by a place where the person can normally be found – in other words where that person is located. This means that PO Box at the post office is not allowed, and typically a PMB (private mail box) that might be used as a mail drop is not workable either. Many small business owners just starting out and choosing to have their office at home may be leery of listing their home address on the LLC or corporation documents, wherein they serve as the registered agent, because that address is publicly available and the LLC and corporation filings with the Secretary of State’s office are available online. Because of that, several business owners will choose to have the attorney that helps them form the new company serve as the registered agent each year, and may pay a nominal fee for that service. Other options include companies that essentially serve as a professional registered agent for a fee.
If you need assistance forming a new LLC or corporation in Georgia, we invite you to give us a call to discuss your situation. We generally provide these formation services for a fixed fee and help make sure that the company’s organizational documents are in good order so that the business owners can worry about their own business, instead of handling the legal items.