Before you can form a limited liability company (LLC) in Delaware, you need to appoint an official point of contact so that the state and others can get in touch with your business. That person (or company) is called a registered agent. We’ll tell you below what the registered agent is, their duties, and the requirements to be one.

What is a Delaware registered agent?

A registered agent is an individual or company serving as the central point of contact to receive important state correspondence and legal documents on behalf of a business. If the agent is an individual, they must be a resident of Delaware and at least 18 years old. If the agent is a company, it must be authorized to do business in Delaware. It’s a legal requirement to have and maintain a registered agent at all times.

What does a Delaware registered agent do?

The requirements for a registered agent are found in Delaware Statutes Title 6 § 18-104. These say LLCs will have and continuously maintain a registered agent and office within the state.  The agent must be present at sufficiently frequent times to accept service of process and important official correspondence from the state of Delaware. 

The state requires you to have this position so that the correct people within an LLC are notified in the event of time-sensitive events, such as service of process for lawsuits, garnishment notices against employees, and tax notifications.

Can I be my own Delaware registered agent?

You can be your own registered agent, as long as you’re a resident of the state, at least 18 years old, and are available during business hours. Unlike most other states, Delaware also allows the LLC to serve as its own registered agent.

Should you be your own Delaware registered agent?

Legally, you can serve as your own registered agent. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea. Here are a few reasons to consider hiring a service to act as your registered agent:

  • Availability – A registered agent needs to generally be available at the principal address during normal business hours.  This could be a challenge for a business that doesn’t need to keep consistent office hours. And even if you do keep normal business hours, this prevents you from leaving the office to meet clients, go on vacation, have a sick day, etc.
  • Avoiding embarrassment – Being served with a lawsuit notice at your place of business in front of customers can be both embarrassing and bad for business.
  • Reminders – Registered agent services often provide reminders on state requirements such as annual report filings.  Remembering to file an annual report can be easily missed.
  • Penalties and Fees – By not continuously maintaining a current registered agent, the LLC may be responsible for penalties and fees, in addition to the potential for administrative dissolution.
  • Convenience – If your principal place of business moves, having a registered agent service means that you won’t have to update your registered agent paperwork with the state.

How is a registered agent appointed in Delaware?

For a Delaware LLC, a registered agent is initially appointed in the Certificate of Formation, which is the paperwork you complete to make your LLC official with the state of Delaware. For a Delaware corporation, a registered agent is appointed in the Certificate of Incorporation.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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