Are you currently serving as a registered agent, but no longer wish to fulfill this position?
Each state has a simple process for resigning as a registered agent, but you should be aware of the relevant rules and regulations before you attempt to do so.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know to resign as a registered agent in your state.
Guru Tip: If you would prefer to have a professional service deal with the paperwork and take over registered agent duties, hire an online registered agent service.
Select your state below to learn how to resign as a registered agent in your state. We'll show you how it works and what paperwork is required.
What Is a Registered Agent?
Let’s get this important question out of the way first. The registered agent is a person or a business that maintains a physical street address (not a P.O. Box) in the same state your business operates in.
The role of the registered agent revolves around accepting important document deliveries from your state, alerting your business of the delivery, and forwarding the documents to you.
One of the most important parts of a registered agent’s job is simply being present at their place of business during all typical business hours. Because the state can deliver service of process and other important forms from 9am to 5pm each weekday, someone needs to be available to accept those deliveries.
Do I Need a Registered Agent?
Is your business incorporated? If the answer is yes, then you do need a registered agent. In fact, in most states, you will not even be allowed to file your articles of incorporation with the state if you do not designate a registered agent.
If there is ever any point in the life cycle of your business when you do not have an active registered agent, your business will be noncompliant and you will lose your good standing with the state.
Steps to Resigning as a Registered Agent
The exact process for resigning as a company’s registered agent varies a bit from state to state. However, the process is pretty similar in most states.
1) The first step in most states is notifying the business that you’re resigning. Some states will inform the business on your behalf, but it’s still a good practice to inform them yourself even if your business is in one of these states.
2) After that, it’s time to fill out the Statement of Resignation of Registered Agent form (some states have different names for this document, but it’s roughly similar in each state). The information needed for this form typically includes your name, signature, and statement of resignation, along with the company’s name and principal office address.
3) Next, you will need to pay a filing fee in some states. Many states offer registered agent resignations for free, but plenty of states do charge fees for these documents as well. If your state assesses a fee for this filing, you’ll need to pay it before they process your forms.
4) Finally, some states also require that you provide a grace period for the company to find a new registered agent. This is so the company has a chance to replace you. Especially if your resignation was sudden and unexpected, the company may not have a replacement lined up quickly. That’s why some states require a departing registered agent to remain in the role for 30 days.
After you’ve completed these steps, you have successfully resigned as a registered agent.
Where Can I Find a New Registered Agent?
Like we’ve mentioned, you can serve as your own agent, or you can enlist the services of a trusted friend or family member. In addition, some businesses like to give this role to their attorneys or accountants, because the business already has a professional relationship with them. However, both of these options have their downsides.
Serving as your own agent (or designating a friend or family member) is far from ideal because of several significant downsides. For instance, you’ll need to make your address a matter of public record, which can lead to a massive influx of junk mail and a loss of your privacy.
In addition, you would need to be present at the provided address during all standard business hours, every weekday. If you aren’t, you run the risk of missing a service of process document delivery.
How about handing this role to your attorney or accountant? Even though attorneys and accountants are highly educated professionals, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have much experience or expertise regarding the role of the registered agent. Also, lawyers and accountants often charge very high rates to serve as your company’s registered agent.
The other popular option is our favorite: hiring a registered agent service. Several big names in the world of professional registered agents include Incfile, ZenBusiness, Northwest Registered Agent, and LegalZoom. The advantage of hiring one of these companies is that they can usually act as your agent for every state.
There are quite a few good reasons to use these services, especially if you haven’t yet incorporated your business. While these companies do charge annual fees, they’re usually much more affordable than an attorney or accountant will charge you. Our favorite registered agent services all charge in the $100-150 range per year.
If this sounds like an option you’d like to try, we recommend hiring one of the top services listed on our “Top-Rated & Best Registered Agent Services Online” guide.
What Happens if a Company Does Not Maintain a Registered Agent?
There are potentially severe penalties for failing to designate or maintain a registered agent for a business. Let’s start by discussing what could happen if a business doesn’t designate a registered agent to begin with. In this scenario, it’s quite likely that your business entity was never actually formed.
That’s because every state requires entrepreneurs to designate a registered agent when they file their business formation documents. Whether you’re starting an LLC, a corporation, or another entity type, this holds true. If you don’t include registered agent information on your Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation (or similar document), the state will not accept your filing. Instead, you will need to file your formation documents again, with registered agent information included.
How about the penalties for a business that fails to maintain a registered agent? This is quite a different scenario, as the business is already in existence. In this scenario, the exact penalty will vary by state, but we can run down some of the common ones.
Failing to maintain a registered agent will lead to your business losing its good standing with the state. In addition, you might have to pay a monetary fine. If you fail to maintain a registered agent for long enough, many states will administratively dissolve your business, leaving you wide open to lawsuits and forcing you to enter into a costly and time-consuming reinstatement process.
In other words, it is strongly advisable to designate a registered agent before forming your business and maintain an agent throughout your company’s life cycle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I legally required to inform the company that I’m resigning as its registered agent?
In many states, you do need to tell the company if you plan to resign as its registered agent. However, there are also some where the state will inform the company of your departure on your behalf. Either way, it’s a good idea to give the company a heads up before you depart.
Do I need to find a replacement registered agent before resigning?
No. You are under no obligation to help the company find a new registered agent before you resign from the position.
How long does it take the state to process a registered agent resignation?
This depends on which state the business you’re resigning from is located. Different states have different processing speeds for registered agent resignation forms, and some also require you to provide a grace period for the company to find a new agent.
My company’s registered agent just resigned. Should I serve as my own registered agent, hire an attorney or accountant, or use a registered agent service?
All of these are equally viable options, and legally speaking, it won’t make a difference which one you choose. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have our preferences in this area. Serving as your own agent (or designating a trusted friend or family member) is the cheapest option, but as we discussed earlier, this involves making your address public, receiving lots of junk mail, and needing to stay at your principal business address during all standard business hours.
Hiring your attorney or accountant as your agent has the advantage of designating a registered agent that you already have a business relationship with. However, these professionals often charge very high prices for registered agent service, and they may not have much experience in the role. That’s why we prefer using a reputable online registered agent service like the ones discussed earlier in this guide. They provide an ideal mix of affordability and professionalism that these other options don’t have.
The process for resigning as a registered agent for a business entity is quite simple, but it’s very important that you complete these steps accurately.
You certainly don’t want to make a mistake that leads to your resignation not being processed correctly, because registered agents are liable for failure to fulfill their responsibilities. We hope this article answered any questions you had about resigning as a registered agent.