What is an Agent for Service of Process (Registered Agent) in California?

Agent for Service of Process: What California Businesses Need to Know

If you have an entity in California, particularly a corporation or LLC, you are required by law to designate what is known as an agent for service of process. Although it can sound complicated, it’s actually quite simple. Here’s what you need to know.

What is an agent for service of process (registered agent) in California?

An agent for service of process, also known as a registered agent, or even registered agent for service of process, is the official point of contact for receiving legal documents on behalf of a company, including lawsuits, subpoenas, and other court-related notices.

California law mandates that all business entities operating within the state designate a registered agent for service of process.

Who can be listed as an agent for service of process?

A company can list as an agent for service of process either an individual residing in California, or a registered corporate agent authorized to conduct business in the state. The individual or corporate agent must agree in advance to be the agent for service of process. Professional corporate agents generally charge a fee for this service.

Using a professional registered agent service is generally not required, although it does allow for additional privacy and convenience. Designating a professional agent for service of process helps protect the privacy and security of the business owners and executives by providing a separate point of contact for legal matters.

If listing an individual, this may include an officer, director, or shareholder of the company. The agent for service of process must have a physical address within California. P.O. boxes are generally not acceptable for this purpose.

What are the responsibilities of the agent?

The agent for service of process is responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of the business and promptly forwarding them to the appropriate parties within the company. It is crucial for the agent to maintain accurate records of all legal correspondence and ensure that the business is notified promptly of any legal actions or notices received.

How do I change or update my agent for service of process?

To change your registered agent, once the new agent agrees to serve as the agent, you simply need to file an updated statement of information with the California Secretary of State. See how to do that for LLCs and for corporations.

Related Pages

How Do I Make Changes to My California Corporation?

Guide to California Business Structures


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