What is a registered agent?
A registered agent is basically the company representative and public face for the purpose of receiving legal papers. For example, if a company is sued by someone, the complaint should be served on that LLC’s registered agent, as opposed to simply serving it on the company at the LLC headquarters. The organizer has to pick an initial registered agent fairly early in the process of setting an LLC up, because the articles of organization have to identify the registered agent (although the registered agent can certainly be changed at a later time).
Anyone can be designated as an LLC’s registered agent. Sometimes, one of the LLC’s members or managers will be designated as the registered agent - often, however, a company will designate its attorney as the registered agent. But again, anyone can be the registered agent, so it doesn’t even have to be someone specifically affiliated with the LLC. Some companies chose to hire an unaffiliated third-party as their registered agent, which is especially attractive for companies that are trying to keep their details anonymous.
In some states, the registered agent is referred to as an agent for service of process or as a local agent.