What is a registered agent?
A registered agent is basically a company’s representative and public face for the purpose of receiving legal papers. For example, if a corporation or LLC is sued by someone, the complaint should be served on that company’s registered agent, as opposed to simply serving it on the company headquarters. The incorporator of a corporation, or the organizer of an LLC, has to pick an initial registered agent fairly early in the process of setting the company up because the articles of incorporation and 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 a company’s registered agent. Sometimes, one of the corporate officers or directors, or 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 have to be someone specifically affiliated with the business. 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.
Some states refer to a registered agent as an agent for service of process or as a local agent.