Every limited liability company operating in the United States needs to designate a registered agent. Even after you identify your initial registered agent in your formation paperwork, filed on your own or through an AL LLC service, there are several reasons for why you may need to change the registered agent for your LLC in Alabama.
Your registered agent could be moving out of state, or they could be a former co-owner or employee who no longer works for your organization. Maybe you want to switch from an individual registered agent to a professional service that operates in all 50 states, or perhaps you’re simply unsatisfied with your current registered agent’s service.
Whatever the reason may be, each state allows you to change your registered agent at any time, and in most states the process is both simple and inexpensive. Let’s dive into the specifics of how to change your LLC’s registered agent in Alabama.
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4 Steps to Change Your Alabama Registered Agent
Thankfully, changing your registered agent in Alabama isn’t a terribly complicated process. If you know the steps to follow, it’s a cinch:
1.) Gather contact information for both your old and new agents:
This might seem like fairly basic information, but the state requires you to gather the names and addresses (both street and mailing addresses) of your former registered agent and your new one. If you don’t have this information immediately on hand, you should obtain it before proceeding. You also need to look up your Alabama ID number if you don’t know it already.
2.) Obtain the proper forms:
In Alabama, you’ll use a simple form, the Change of Registered Agent or Registered Office by Entity form, to complete this change. You can download it, print it, and fill out the required information. There is a similar one called “Change by Agent of Agent Name and/or Registered Office Address,” but don’t use that one! That’s a form for registered agents to conduct this process themselves.
3.) Obtain the signature of your new registered agent:
In some states, you can simply provide the contact information of your new registered agent and move on. Alabama, however, requires you to obtain a signature of your new agent. That’s why you must print off the form. There’s a boxed section near the end of the form where your new agent can sign the form.
4.) Submit the completed form to the Secretary of the State:
Even though you must print off this form and have a written signature for your new agent, you can file in a couple different ways. First of all, you can mail it in. But if you scan the completed form, you can also submit it via email or fax. That said, you’ll also need to include the filing fee: $100. This can be paid by check, money order, prepaid account, or credit card.
That’s all there is to it! Once the state receives and processes your documents, you’ll have yourself a new registered agent.
Important Alabama Registered Agent Do’s and Don’ts
Want to make your registered agent switch a perfect success? If you follow the steps above, you’ll be off to a great start. But there are a few other things to keep in mind to keep things running smoothly—before, during, and after the switch.
DO follow state regulations when appointing a new agent.
When it all comes down to it, the state of Alabama isn’t incredibly picky about who can be your registered agent, but they still have some rules they want you to follow. If you want to read the official statutes, you can find them here. But you’re probably pretty busy (and legalese can be overwhelming!), so here are the essentials:
- Can be an individual who is a resident of Alabama
- Can be a business that is registered to do business in the state
- Maintain a physical address in the state (not a P.O. box or telephone answering service)
- Have someone present to accept service of process and official communications at that address during regular business hours
As long as you meet those requirements, you can pick just about anyone to serve as your own registered agent.
DO pick the right agent for your business goals.
Before you opt to serve as your own registered agent or hire a registered agent service, you’ll want to consider the right agent for your unique needs. After all, agents aren’t “one-size-fits-all.” Some businesses might benefit from having the owner or an employee serving as their own agent. Others might opt to have a local, Alabama-dedicated registered agent service. And lots of LLCs in AL choose to work with a national service that covers businesses in all 50 states.
There’s not really a wrong answer here. Well, the only wrong answer is not hiring one. That would put you in non-compliance. That said, you should think about your long-term vision for your business when picking a registered agent.
For example, if you want to expand into other states later on, you should pick a service that covers multiple states. That way, you wouldn’t have to hire another service when you joined a new state. You’d just have your pre-existing agent serve you in that state, too.
DON’T confuse your filing options.
In some states, you can file your change of agent forms entirely online. And you might be thinking that since you can file other important documents online—your Articles of Organization and Annual Reports, to name a few—you can file a registered agent change online, too.
But that’s not the case; Alabama requires you to file using a physical form since you have to obtain a written signature from your new agent. This is a small detail, but it’s not one you should overlook! Thankfully, though, once you’ve obtained the signature, you can file using mail, fax, or email. So you still have some options.
Additionally, keep in mind that how you file your forms affects how quickly your documents are processed. The state promises to process your documents within 3 to 5 days of receiving them. So emailed and faxed forms will naturally take less time than mail-order filings.
DON’T forget to keep both your new and old registered agent in the loop.
This might seem like a common courtesy, but when you switch registered agents, you should chat with both (unless, of course, you’re serving as your own agent). Obviously, you’ll talk with your new agent to let them know you’ll require their services. Plus, you’ll have to get his or her signature, too.
But be sure to touch base with your previous agent, too. This is especially important if you’re paying someone to serve as your registered agent. You’ll want to wrap up any payment obligations, including canceling any automatic payments you’ve set up. And even if a friend or family member was acting as your agent for free, you should let him or her know your plans to avoid any confusion.
Getting Help: Hiring a Registered Agent Service
A registered agent service is a company that specializes in being a registered agent for a wide variety of businesses across the country, bringing tons of expertise and a healthy dose of reliability to the role.
Most professional registered agent services operate on a national basis, meaning there’s no restrictions on which states you can operate your business in. They also tend to charge affordable rates, as you can find several registered agent services that charge around $10/month or even less for this service. In addition, most of these companies will also offer to handle the process of changing a registered agent for you.
Since the registered agent is such a vital part of any business, it’s crucial to get it right whenever you decide to switch agents. We hope this article helped you improve your understanding of changing a registered agent in Alabama. If you’d like more assistance, there are plenty of business services online that can help with changing your agent or even filing an LLC. And, as always, we thank you for choosing Registered Agent Ready!