How to Change a Registered Agent

As a successful business owner, understanding the importance of a registered agent for your LLC is paramount.

A registered agent is your LLC’s official point of contact with the state and is vital for ensuring timely and proper management of legal documents and correspondence.

There may come a time when changing your registered agent becomes necessary. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as relocation, dissatisfaction with your current service, or a desire to handle registered agent duties yourself.

Whatever the reason, as legal advisors, we’ve been there several times, helping our customers change registered agents by filing agent paperwork on their behalf and guiding them toward the best registered agent services.

To help you in this matter, we put together this guide, which aims to equip you with the knowledge and steps necessary to change your registered agent seamlessly. Now, let’s delve into the process. 

Brief Overview

  • Maintaining a registered agent is crucial for managing legal documents and correspondence for your LLC.
  • Steps to change your registered agent include choosing a new agent with a physical address, submitting paperwork and fees to your state, informing your current agent, and updating your agent for service of process.
  • Costs vary by state, so check your state’s fees before changing your registered agent

How to Assign a New Registered Agent for Your LLC?

To assign a new registered agent for your LLC, submit a Change of Registered Agent form to your state’s business filing agency. Include the new registered agent’s address and name, along with any required fees.

Lastly, update your LLC’s operating agreement and notify all relevant parties of the change.

Here are the steps in detail:

1. Choose Your New Registered Agent 

The first step to change a registered agent is to choose and designate a new one.

This can either be a national registered agent service (companies that provide registered agent services), a resident agent or non-commercial registered agent (an individual resident in the state of operation), or even your own registered agent – if you have the necessary qualifications and are available during normal business hours.

Our years of experience in this matter taught us that the selected registered agent address must be in the state where your business operates and that sometimes a P.O. box is not enough.

2. Submit Your Filing and Fee to the State 

Next, we need to complete the necessary paperwork with the current registered agent name and address and the new agent’s name and address and submit it to your state’s business services office, typically the Secretary of State.

This usually involves a Statement of Change of Registered Agent filing, though we discovered that the exact name for the registered agent forms and filing fee may vary by state and entity type. For example, an LLC fee may differ from a corporation fee.

From our experience, most states allow online filing for registered agents, but you should verify this with your Secretary of State’s office. 

3. Inform Your Old Registered Agent 

After filing a change registered agent form, it’s crucial to notify the current registered agent’s service of the impending change. This ensures a smooth transition and helps prevent any potential legal issues down the line.

By reviewing the state law, we’ve learned that notifying the current agent of the registered agent change is not just a courtesy but also a requirement in many states, so make sure you don’t skip this step.

4. Change Your Agent for Service of Process 

In addition to changing your LLC’s registered agent, you’ll also need to change your agent for service of process, which is the person or entity authorized to receive legal papers on your business’s behalf.

This is usually the same as your registered agent and is typically handled in the same filing. 

Note: One of the most common reasons businesses face compliance issues when changing registered agents is not adhering strictly to the process. This includes ensuring you pay any necessary state fees, complete all forms accurately, sign where necessary, and submit the forms to the correct office.

According to this study, many companies view compliance as a significant concern, and in certain instances, this perspective hinders their growth potential.

Remember, your business must be in good standing with the state to change your registered agent, so make sure you don’t skip filing annual reports. 

What are the Reasons to Change Your Registered Agent?

There are three reasons why a business entity may decide to change its registered agent. In our years of advising LLCs, we’ve seen first-hand how changes in business circumstances can necessitate a change of agent: 

1. You appointed Yourself or an Associate

Initially, many small business owners or LLC owners may act as their own registered agents to save costs. However, in the long run, this can present several challenges. For instance, a registered agent must maintain regular business hours to receive important legal documents.

If you’re frequently out meeting clients or managing other business aspects, it makes sense to hire a professional registered agent service.

2. Your Business’s Registered Agent Resigned or Ended your Business Relationship

In such cases, you’re required by law to appoint a new registered agent service. Failing to change registered agents can lead to fines and even a lawsuit. A national registered agent service can provide you with reliable service across multiple states.

3. Your Business Wants to Expand to New States

If you’re expanding your business and filing business formations in different states, you’ll need to designate a registered agent in each state. Different states have different requirements.

A registered agent service can help you navigate these requirements and maintain compliance in multiple states. 

How Much Does It Cost to Change Your Registered Agent?

The cost for a company’s registered agent changing can vary from state to state. Here’s a summary of the fees you will need to pay to change your registered agent by state:

Alabama $100Hawaii $25Massachusetts $25New Mexico $20South Dakota $10
Alaska $25Idaho $0Michigan $5New York $30Tennessee $20
Arizona $5Illinois $25Minnesota $35North Carolina $5Texas $15
Arkansas $0Indiana $0Mississippi $10North Dakota $10Utah $15
California $20Iowa $0Missouri $10Ohio $25Vermont $0
Colorado $10Kansas $30Montana $15Oklahoma $25Virginia $0
Connecticut $50Kentucky $10Nebraska $15Oregon $0Washington $0
Delaware $5Louisiana $25Nevada $60Pennsylvania $5West Virginia $15
District of Columbia $50Maine $35New Hampshire $15Rhode Island $20Wisconsin $10
Florida $25Maryland $25New Jersey $25South Carolina $10Wyoming $5

Please note that fees and requirements may change over time, so it’s important to verify the current registered agent information with the respective state authorities before proceeding with any changes to your registered agent.

Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson

An accomplished business guru, our CEO holds a degree from Philadelphia's esteemed Fox School of Business, accredited by AACSB. With a knack for practicality, they've orchestrated the launch of diverse small enterprises and guided fellow entrepreneurs in optimizing their ventures. Trust their seasoned insights for invaluable advice tailored to new businesses and LLCs.