Four best practices for choosing a registered agent for your corporation
A registered agent is an individual or third party (company) responsible for receiving legal documents, aka service of process (SOP), on behalf of an entity. Given the nature and scope of the authority vested in a registered agent, clients should ensure they are measuring agents against a high standard of trust and care when choosing a registered agent.
How to choose a qualified registered agent
Finding a registered agent is a crucial process for your corporation. Find a qualified registered agent by using these four best practice criteria:
1. Look for electronic integration
Electronic SOP integrated with a litigation management system eliminates the cost of paper as well as the issue of SOP getting lost. Choosing a registered agent who uses electronic processes is best if they also incorporate automated email reminders to help you meet deadlines.
2. Research the true cost of each registered agent
Ultimately, base your decision to hire a registered agent on how well they meet your desired criteria. Also compare the legal time and expense of making up for a single mistake by an inadequate registered agent, which can cost much more than a qualified agent’s fees.
3. Conduct your due diligence
Conduct extensive due diligence on any registered agent you’re considering. Look at their expertise, experience, and technology. It’s easy for a registered agent to showcase impressive marketing materials that aren’t backed by high-quality service, but you’re banking on them delivering as promised.
4. Consolidate your representation
Overall, it’s best to consolidate your representation with a unified national team, backed by an integrated system, and proven technology platforms. If you work with multiple registered agents or offices, they may have different processes and systems, and your SOP delivery will be inconsistent in format or timeframe.
The importance of choosing the best registered agent
An effective registered agent receives and presents legal documents to clients as seamlessly as if the agent is your own employee. In addition to this statutory duty, registered agents should also be able to help manage a range of compliance, governance, litigation, and legal support demands.
However, when companies don’t know their registered agent as well as they should, unexpected liability can result. Potential risks might range from late delivery of important legal or tax compliance documents to runaway default judgments. Fortunately, you can avoid all these problems by choosing a registered agent based on objective criteria like reputation, technology, delivery times, and back-end support.
When searching for and choosing a registered agent, look for a time-tested process. A qualified registered agent process should alert clients when litigation is received, with electronic delivery of legal documents through a secure online system to company and third-party contacts chosen by the corporation. You’ll know you’ve chosen a good registered agent when your company’s legal teams can review documents and act within the appropriate timeframe.