A registered agent is the individual or business entity that receives legal documents from the state, and then forwards them to your business address. But why is this a requirement, and who should you designate as your registered agent in Louisiana?
In this guide, we will break down all the details you need to know about Louisiana registered agents.
Guru Tip: ZenBusiness includes a year of free registered agent service when you use its service to incorporate online. See our comparison reviews to the two industry giants, LegalZoom and Incfile.
What is a Louisiana Registered Agent?
One of the most common questions we receive from entrepreneurs in Louisiana is why a registered agent is required to form an LLC or corporation. While it might seem like an unnecessary middle-man type of role, the registered agent fills a vital role.
The registered agent’s job is to provide a reliable way for the state to contact an official representative of your business at any time, which is especially important if your business is ever sued. If you didn’t have a registered agent, a lawsuit could progress through the courts without you even knowing about it, which is obviously far from ideal.While Louisiana does not provide a recommended list of registered agent services, we reviewed the top options and compiled a list of the best Louisiana registered agent services based on price and overall value.
Who Can Be a Louisiana Registered Agent?
In Louisiana, the Secretary of State dictate that a registered agent may be either a qualifying individual resident of the state who has a business office, an individual attorney or partnership which is authorized to practice law in Louisiana, or a qualifying business entity that is authorized to do business in the state and has also been certified to act as a registered agent.
Aside from the legal requirements, an important aspect to discuss is who should be your registered agent. You have the right to declare yourself as your own registered agent, which has its pros and cons.
On the positive side, you can save some money by not paying anyone to serve as your agent, but you’ll also likely need to make your home address a matter of public record, which is not ideal. Additionally, you’ll need to be physically present at your business during all standard operating hours (9-5, M-F).
Some entrepreneurs like to have a friend or family member serve as their registered agent, but if that person doesn’t have experience in this position, they might not know what is expected of them. In addition, designating your lawyer or accountant as a registered agent can work, but these options are usually quite expensive.
Our preference is to hire a professional registered agent service, which provides a combination of convenience, affordability, and peace of mind that is unrivaled by any of these other options.
How Do Louisiana Residents Get Served?
The most important part of a registered agent’s role is being served a summons.
In Louisiana for a summons to be processed a plaintiff must first submit a claim to the appropriate court using the court’s specified petition form and/or guidelines. For small claims of less than $5,000, the filing fee is $66.00. When the petition and the statement of claim are submitted to the court (along with any designated fee), then the summons process moves forward.
If these steps are all taken correctly, the state of Louisiana will permit a sheriff or another qualified individual to serve a summons to the defendant’s registered agent.
How to Designate a Louisiana Registered Agent
The answer to this question depends on what type of business you’re starting, but with either a corporation or an LLC, you’ll need to designate your registered agent when you form your company.
When establishing an LLC, you’ll need to designate your registered agent in article 3 of the Limited Liability Company Initial Report which must be submitted as a part of the Articles of Organization. Conversely, if you’re forming a corporation in the state of Louisiana you’ll need to list your registered agent in article 8 of the Articles of Incorporation.
Both forms must be accompanied by the agent’s affidavit and acknowledgement of acceptance (which can be found as a part of either the Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation). The affidavit requires the registered agent’s signature, and serves as an acknowledgement and acceptance of the position.
How Can I Change My Louisiana Registered Agent?
If you would like to change your registered agent for any reason, the process is pretty simple.
First, you must complete either the Notice of Change of Registered Office and/or Change of Registered Agent for LLC companies or the Statement of Change of Registered Office, Principal Office, and/or Change of Registered Agent for corporations. For businesses in select counties, these forms can be filled out online using the Louisiana Secretary of State’s online document filing platform, geauxBiz.
Either form must be submitted along with a standard $25.00 processing fee to the Commercial Division of the Louisiana Secretary of State. It should be noted that in Louisiana, you may not change your registered agent by completing an amendment to the articles of organization or articles of incorporation; your agent must be changed using the appropriate change form.
How Does a Louisiana Registered Agent Resign?
Sometimes, a registered agent may have to resign from their position.
In Louisiana, there is no formal document for registered agents wishing to resign. Instead, the resigning agent must simply complete a statement of resignation and send the original and two copies to the Commercial Division of the Louisiana Secretary of State by mail, fax, or in-person.
The statement should include the entity’s name, the date of filing, the registered agent’s name and address, a statement detailing the resignation, and the signature of the resigning agent. After filing the statement with the secretary of state (along with a standard processing fee of $25.00).
Why Should You Hire a Professional Louisiana Registered Agent Service?
Hiring a professional registered agent is basically the best of both worlds between serving as your own agent, and designating a lawyer or accountant.
The biggest benefit in our opinion is the privacy protection this allows, as you will be able to keep your personal address private. There’s also a major advantage compared to having an attorney or accountant serve as your agent, namely the fact that registered agent services are almost always much cheaper.
Another reason we like this option is that these companies specialize in providing quality registered agent service. They know exactly what’s expected of them, and there are rarely any issues to speak of.
The other major benefit of hiring a registered agent service is that most of them operate in all 50 states, so that if you ever want to expand your business into another state, you won’t need to hire an additional registered agent. Your same registered agent will be able to provide the coverage you need in your new state, while still providing the same service in Louisiana. If you hired a lawyer or accountant, they would only be able to help you expand to a new state if they have another physical office in that state.
You Stay Compliant
Finally, most professional registered agents operating in Louisiana offer some sort of compliance calendar. With this service, your registered agent helps you keep track of due dates for ongoing LLC maintenance requirements like annual reports, which is a valuable bonus.
The top registered agent service providers include some other appealing attributes, including access to their extensive customer support networks. Some of them include a full year of registered agent service with any business formation package, which can be a real money-saver. Another welcome attribute is that some registered agent services provide volume discounts if you require service in multiple states, or if you prepay for multiple years.
What Is the Penalty for Not Designating a Registered Agent in Louisiana?
You need to have a registered agent to form your limited liability company or corporation in Louisiana in the first place, but if you let your registered agent service lapse, there could be some serious consequences.
Failure to maintain a registered agent could lead to your business losing its good standing with the state of Louisiana, and the state also has the right to officially dissolve your LLC if they choose to.
Another issue would be the difficulty of being served if your business is sued. If the state cannot get ahold of your registered agent, a court may decide to go ahead with the lawsuit without your knowledge, which could even lead to a judgment against you. This can happen not just if you fail to designate a registered agent, but also if your agent is not present during business hours to accept the document delivery.
As you can see, the task of designating a registered agent for your Louisiana business isn’t quite as easy as just writing down your own name.
There are significant downsides to just about every option in our opinion, but we recommend hiring a professional registered agent service because that option has the fewest disadvantages. They charge affordable rates, and you never have to worry about losing your good standing, having your LLC or corporation dissolved, or having a lawsuit proceed in your absence.
If you have any further questions, you can contact the Louisiana Secretary of State:
Louisiana Secretary of State
8585 Archives Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
(225) 922 0539