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What is a Registered Agent? Who Should Be Yours?

When you create an entity – corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership, you are creating a separate legal “person” from yourself. This is what provides limited liability – because the entity is a separate legal person from the owners, a creditor can only reach the assets of the entity and not those of its owners.

Limited liability is conditioned on the entity being property run and properly capitalized. Properly run includes tasks like having a separate company account, not co-mingling funds, holding meetings, filing annual reports and naming a registered agent.

A registered agent receives official notices and documents on behalf of the entity – notices from the Secretary of State or Department of Revenue or service by a plaintiff in a lawsuit. The registered agent must be a person living in North Carolina age 18 or over, or an entity qualified to do business in North Carolina.

Only one person may serve as the registered agent at a time, so businesses with multiple owners must either chose one partner, have their attorney or accountant serve, or hire a professional registered agent. The duties of the registered agent are to accept the notices or service of process and forward them to the principals of the company. If your attorney also serves as your registered agent, when she delivers the notice to you, she will advise you of what it means and what your next steps are.

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