How to Change Your Registered Agent
By: Drake Forester | Last Updated July 30, 2021
Do Business the Right Way
To change your registered agent for your LLC or corporation, you’ll need to file paperwork with the state. Below, you’ll find a general guide on how to change your registered agent that includes information about the processes, forms, and fees involved as well as helpful links to more detailed information on how to change a registered agent in any state.
When you sign up for registered agent service with us, we streamline the filing process for you, submit the paperwork necessary to change your registered agent, and even pay your state filing fee.
Change Your Registered Agent
Why Do I Need a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or business you appoint to receive service of process (legal notices) on your business’s behalf. Every state requires an LLC or a corporation to have a registered agent if the business operates there, though some states refer to the position by different names (such as an agent for service of process, a resident agent, or a statutory agent).
A registered agent must maintain a physical location in the state, called a registered office, and the registered agent must be available at that location to receive service of process and other official state documents during normal business hours.
In general, states require LLCs and corporations to appoint registered agents to keep a channel of communication open between the state and every business within its jurisdiction.
Reasons to Change Registered Agents
Pretty much any qualified individual can be a registered agent, which is why business owners commonly take on the job themselves or appoint their associates, accountants, or attorneys. But these are also among the major reasons why so many businesses find themselves needing to appoint a new registered agent after being in business for several years.
Here are the most common reasons why you might need to change your registered agent:
1. You appointed yourself or an associate
It looks easy to be a registered agent, so why not do it yourself? As it turns out, it isn’t always easy to be available consistently at the same place during normal business hours, as a registered agent needs to be, especially while trying to run a business, hold meetings, travel, and otherwise manage your company’s day-to-day operations.
So a lot of business owners start out as their own registered agents and decide, after a little while in business, that they would rather appoint someone else (or pay someone else) to bear the burden. In such cases, the business needs to change registered agents.
2. Your registered agent resigned or ended your business relationship
It’s common to appoint an accountant, an attorney, or some other individual third-party to serve as the business’s registered agent. The trouble with this arrangement, however, is that an individual registered agent may resign the position at some point down the road (necessitating a change of registered agent), or the individual’s relationship with your business may come to an end.
It’s unlikely that an accountant or an attorney who no longer works with your business will want to continue serving as your registered agent—a situation that, once again, requires your business to change registered agents.
3. Your business wants to expand to new states
Individual registered agents can’t be in two places at once, which presents a problem if your business decides to expand to other states. Unless you originally hired a registered agent service with offices in multiple states when you started your business, you’re likely going to need to appoint a completely different registered agent for your business each time it expands to a new state, so you’ll end up with two or more registered agents to deal with.
One solution? Switch now to a national registered agent service with offices in all 50 states. Unlike many individual registered agents, a national registered agent service will know the ins and outs of the change a registered agent filing process in every state and will typically provide more reliable, more cost-effective services than most individuals registered agents can provide.
How to Change Registered Agents
1. Choose Your New Registered Agent
Your first step is to decide on your new registered agent. You can find a list of available registered agent services on most secretary of state websites, or you can consult our guide to Registered Agent Market Share to get a sense for the number of providers available and their size.
At Northwest, we have offices in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and we offer registered agent service for $125 a year. That’s a price that never changes, and it includes a secure online account, access to our expert Corporate Guides®, a host of useful online filing tools, and stable, transparent prices.
And when you hire Northwest, WE serve as your business’s registered agent instead of hiring a third-party registered agent service provider. That means you’ll deal with one company, one customer support staff, one phone number, one website, and one personalized, reliable service.
2. Submit Your Filing and Fee to the State
Some states require special forms to change your registered agent, some states allow you to change your registered agent by filing an amendment, and some states do both. In any case, you will file your change of registered agent paperwork with the agency in charge of business formations in your state (usually the office of the secretary of state), and you can expect to include the following information:
- Your company name
- The name & address of your current registered agent
- The name & address of your new registered agent
However, the filing requirements, forms, fees, and other details are determined by each state and vary widely. It costs $25 to file a Statement of Change in Alaska, for instance, $20 in Rhode Island, and $10 in North Dakota. Similarly, some states allow only online filing, some states will only accept your paperwork through the mail, and some states will do both.
To determine those state-specific details, scroll down to the next section (“State-by-State Filing Requirements”) and select your state.
3. Inform Your Current Registered Agent of the Change
States typically don’t require you to inform your former registered agent that you have appointed or hired someone new, but it is wise (and also polite!) to do so. If you neglect to inform your previous agent of the change, after all, you might get billed for services you no longer need or use.
Change Registered Agents in Your State Today
Click on the state name for more detailed information about changing your registered agent in each state, or switch to our registered agent service and let us handle the change of registered agent process for you.
Change Your Agent for Service of Process