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 a MA LLC service, there are several reasons for why you may need to change the registered agent for your LLC in Massachusetts.
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 Massachusetts.
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4 Steps to Change Your Massachusetts Registered Agent
Thankfully, changing your registered agent in Massachusetts 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 of both your current and your former registered agent. If you don’t have this information immediately on hand, you’ll need to get it before proceeding.
2.) Obtain the proper form:
In Massachusetts, you’ll use a simple form, a Statement of Change of Resident Agent/Resident Office, to officially file this form. You can simply download it, print it, and fill out the required information. Alternatively, you can file it online, too.
3.) Obtain the signature of your new registered agent:
In some states, you can simply provide the contact information for your new agent and move on. Massachusetts, however, requires you to get a signature from your new agent. Essentially, the signature acts as your agent’s consent to serve as your agent.
4.) Submit the completed form to the Secretary of the Commonwealth:
If you’re filing online, this step is as simple as hitting the “submit” button. But if you’re filing by mail, you’ll need to send the completed form to the main office. Thankfully, it’s listed on the form directly. No matter how you file, though, you’ll need to include the $25 filing fee.
That’s all there is to it! Once the state receives and processes your documents, you’ll have yourself a new registered agent.
Important Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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 resident of the state
- OR an entity with the authority to do business in the state
- Maintain a physical address in the state (not a P.O. box)
- Be present at that address to accept service of process and official communications 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, Massachusetts-dedicated registered agent service. And lots of LLCs in MA 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
Massachusetts gives you some flexibility with your filing options since you can file your forms online or by mail. But don’t let that flexibility overwhelm you. Once you pick whether you’re going to file one way or the other, stick with it! You’d hate to get halfway through the process only to change your mind and have to start over.
Additionally, keep in mind that how you file your forms affects how quickly your documents are processed. Online filings are usually processed immediately. Mail-in filings take longer. For one, you’ll have to wait for it to ship. But then there’s the fact that the state doesn’t promise any processing speeds for mail-order filings. So if you’re in a complete rush, you should go with online filing.
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 Massachusetts. 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!