The official name for a Registered Agent in Michigan is Resident Agent, but the most commonly used term is Registered Agent. Both terms refer to the same thing and they may both be used interchangeably here.
The first step before you file your Articles of Organization with the Michigan Corporations Division, you will be required to choose a Registered Agent for your Michigan LLC. A Michigan Resident Agent is a company or person that agrees to accept legal mail on behalf of a Michigan LLC if the business is sued.
The Michigan Corporations Division may also use the address of the Resident Agent as the LLC’s point of contact when it comes to sending official notices. According to Section 450.4207 the Registered Agent is required to have a physical street address situated in Michigan and it cannot be a P.O. Box address.
The Michigan Registered Agent also needs to be available during regular business hours in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process includes the delivery of legal documents, which include subpoenas, summons, and complaints.
The Michigan LLC’s Resident Agent is an integral component to how the legal and court systems work. The delivery of court documentation and legal mail can be properly tracked since all Michigan LLCs are required not only to have but also continuously maintain a Registered Agent on file with the state.
It is similar to how ‘certified mail return receipt’ operates, but when it comes to the legal world, it is how process servers (i.e. people responsible for delivering legal and court documents) are able to create a record showing the delivery of something.
Is It Possible to Become Your Own Michigan Registered Agent?
Yes, it is possible to become one’s own Registered Agent for a Michigan LLC, but you must have a street address that’s located in the State.
You have a total of 3 options when it comes to forming a Michigan LLC:
– You can be your Michigan LLC’s Resident Agent
– You can appoint a family member or friend to be a Resident Agent for your Michigan LLC
– You can hire a Michigan Resident Agent Service, also referred to as a Commercial Registered Agent
Resident Agent Information Is Part of the Public Record in Michigan
In Michigan, you have the option of being the Resident Agent for your Michigan LLC or appoint a family member or a friend to be the Resident Agent, but you might not want to have either your address or their address listed in the public records.
The information you provide in the Articles of Organization becomes part of the public record with the Michigan Corporations Division. The information is not only searchable by the public but other websites may download records from the state and republish them on their own websites.
Things then spread as other public record websites repost that information on their own websites as well and the process repeats itself almost endlessly. Soon, you find that your address is listed on a variety of websites and people are able to easily find it via a simple Google search.
Fortunately, there’s a solution if you prefer keeping your address of public records that will be discussed below.
Which Michigan Registered Agent Option Should You Choose?
If you have a street address that’s located in Michigan, are available during business hours, and have no problem with your address being part of the public record, then you can choose to be the Registered Agent for your Michigan LLC.
2. Family Member or Friend
If you don’t have a Michigan street address, but you have a family member or friend that does, you can appoint them to be your Resident Agent for your Michigan LLC. Still, they will need to be available during business hours and should have no problem with their address being part of the public record.
3. Commercial Registered Agent Service
If you don’t have a Michigan street address or you have one but prefer not using it for this purpose, you have the option of hiring a Commercial Registered Agent or Commercial Resident Agent in Michigan.
Michigan Commercial Registered Agent Service
Note: The terms “Commercial Registered Agent” and “Registered Agent Service” mean the same thing.
A Michigan Registered Agent Service is responsible for receiving Service of Process (Legal and Court documents) on behalf of a Michigan LLC. The vast majority of Registered Agent Services cost anywhere from $100 to $300 annually.
How Can You Keep Your Address off Public Records?
Filers in Michigan usually start businesses from their home. For that reason, it is worth noting that the address listed in the Articles of Organization of the LLC are listed on the public records.
If you are conserving using your home address, but prefer keeping it off the public record, you can use a Commercial Registered Agent that will let you use their address in the Articles of Organization. Any mail sent to the Michigan LLC will first be scanned by them before being uploaded to your online account.
What Are the Risks of Being Your Own Michigan Registered Agent?
Besides the privacy issues mentioned above, are there other risks associated with being one’s own Registered Agent?
Yes. While not extremely likely to occur, risks are there, and if they were to occur, you might lose your liability protection and the Michigan Corporations Division can administratively shut down the Michigan LLC if you fail to comply with the state laws.
It can happen if you fail to “continuously maintain” a Registered Agent on file or if the Corporations Division is unable to reach the LLC’s Registered Agent. Furthermore, if a process server is unable to reach your Registered Agent, a court case can still proceed in your absence without you even knowing about it, which is referred to as a default judgment.
A few reasons why a process server might be unable to reach the Registered Agent:
– You, your family member, or your friend are not present during business hours
– You, your family member, or your friend are out of town or on vacation
– You, your family member, or your friend moved and you forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with the Corporations Division.