You can technically be your own Registered Agent in West Virginia, but there’s no reason to be.
This is because West Virginia is very different from all the other states: West Virginia doesn’t require you to list a Registered Agent at all.
(Unfortunately, most Registered Agent Services and LLC filing companies hide this information.)
Note: Some states call the Registered Agent a Resident Agent or Statutory Agent. West Virginia calls it an Agent of Process. These all mean the same thing. We will call it a Registered Agent to keep it simple.
Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.
What’s the purpose of a Registered Agent?
Disclaimer: West Virginia is different.
Typically, the purpose of a Registered Agent is to receive Service of Process if your LLC is involved in a lawsuit.
Service of Process is the delivery of legal mail, like a complaint or subpoena. This is when legal documents are delivered to or “served on” your business.
However, things are different in West Virginia.
What happens in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, Service of Process is done through the Secretary of State.
This means that if your business is sued, legal documents will be sent to the West Virginia Secretary of State. Then the Secretary of State will forward the documents to your LLC by certified mail.
If you listed a Registered Agent (aka Agent of Process) on your West Virginia LLC formation documents, the Secretary of State will send the legal documents to that address. Otherwise, the Secretary of State will send the legal documents to your LLC’s principal office address.
Who can be the Registered Agent for an LLC in West Virginia?
Here are the options for who can be your West Virginia Registered Agent:
- Nobody (Remember, West Virginia doesn’t require you to list anyone as a Registered Agent)
- You can be your LLC Registered Agent
- A friend or family member can be your LLC Registered Agent
- You can hire a professional Registered Agent Service
What is a Registered Agent Service?
A Registered Agent Service is a company that you pay to be your Registered Agent.
(A Registered Agent Service is also called a Commercial Registered Agent.)
The Registered Agent Service receives service of process for your LLC and forwards it to you electronically or by mail. Some companies also offer other services related to your LLC that you can buy.
Should you be your own Registered Agent in West Virginia?
We say no. Technically you can be, but there’s really no purpose. Most people leave the Registered Agent field in the LLC paperwork blank in West Virginia.
Should I hire a West Virginia Registered Agent Service?
You don’t need to hire a Registered Agent Service in West Virginia. Again, this is because Registered Agents aren’t required in the state.
Also, because the Secretary of State sends legal documents to your LLC directly, there’s no reason to pay a company to do that.
However, you can hire a Registered Agent Service to keep your address off public records.
The company we recommend below (Northwest) can be used to keep your address off public records. This works by designating them as your Registered Agent and using their address in the address fields of your LLC paperwork.
Note: If you’re not concerned about your address being on public records, then you don’t need to hire a Registered Agent Service in West Virginia. This will save you money.
Our recommendation for a West Virginia Registered Agent
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent.
They’ve been in business for over 20 years and have excellent customer service. They’re also the company we use for our own LLCs.
One awesome feature of Northwest is how they can keep your address off public records. (This is something unique that only Northwest offers).
If you hire Northwest, they’ll let you list their office address throughout your LLC paperwork. For example, you can list their address for any or all of the following:
- Principal office address
- Designated physical address
- Agent of Process address
- LLC Members or Managers address
- LLC Organizer address
Any mail that Northwest receives gets scanned and uploaded to your online account.
In addition to Registered Agent services, Northwest can also form your LLC.
Special discount for LLC University® readers
Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form a West Virginia LLC. But they offer a special price (60% off) for LLC University® readers.
What should I look for in a Registered Agent Service?
|Service of process:||Do they forward documents by mail?|
Do they scan and email them?
|General business mail:||Will they accept general business mail sent to your LLC?|
Most Registered Agent Services will only accept Service of Process.
|LLC Formation:||Will they form your LLC with the state?|
How much do they charge beyond the state filing fee?
|Annual Report or other services:||Do they offer Annual Report filing or other services you can buy?|
How much do they charge for these?
|Cost:||How much do they charge for the stand-alone Registered Agent Service?|
Most Registered Agent Services charge $100 to $300 per year.
|Customer Support:||Do they have great customer support?|
Read some online reviews of the service or call and ask a few questions.
West Virginia Registered Agent FAQs
Is a West Virginia Registered Agent liable?
No, a West Virginia Registered Agent is not liable for any of the LLC’s lawsuits or debts.
Accepting documents on behalf of the LLC does not bring the Registered Agent into a lawsuit.
If you are the Registered Agent and someone sues your LLC, they are still only suing the business. The Registered Agent does not get sued. That’s true even if you are the Registered Agent and the owner of the LLC.
And only the LLC gets sued – not you, as the individual owner. That’s because an LLC protects your personal assets.
Where does the Registered Agent get listed?
The name and address of the West Virginia Registered Agent (aka Agent of Process) goes on the LLC filing paperwork.
Is a Registered Agent a Member of a West Virginia LLC?
No, a West Virginia Registered Agent is not automatically an LLC Member (aka owner).
Meaning, just listing someone as a Registered Agent doesn’t make them a Member of your LLC.
Registered Agent Service:
If you hire a West Virginia Registered Agent Service, they won’t be a Member of your LLC.
If you are a Member of an LLC and you want to be your own Registered Agent, then that is totally okay. In that case, you are both a Member of the LLC and the Registered Agent for the LLC.
Friend or family:
If a friend or family member is your LLC Registered Agent, they can be a Member of your LLC (if you make them one). But they aren’t automatically a Member just because you list them as the Registered Agent.
Is a West Virginia Registered Agent necessary?
No, a West Virginia Registered Agent is not required. West Virginia is the only state in the country that doesn’t require listing a Registered Agent. It’s completely optional.