Service of Process for an LLC is the delivery of legal documents, such as a notice of a lawsuit.
Other examples of documents that are delivered by Service of Process are:
- subpoena (a demand for documents or testimony)
- summons (requires your attendance at a hearing)
- complaint (the filing that starts a lawsuit)
- writ (requires or prohibits some action)
People who deliver Service of Process are called Process Servers.
After a Process Server serves an LLC, they report back to the court to confirm that the documents were delivered.
Serving an LLC
When a Process Server needs to serve a person, they just serve that individual. But when a Process Server needs to serve an LLC, they will serve the LLC’s Registered Agent.
A Registered Agent can be a person or a company (known as a Commercial Registered Agent).
If there is a lawsuit involving your LLC, a Process Server will make multiple attempts to serve your Registered Agent. They may deliver the court documents:
- in person
- or by trackable mail
Note: Your LLC’s Registered Agent is a key component to how the court and legal systems work. By requiring all LLCs to keep a Registered Agent on file with the state, the delivery of legal mail and court documents can be properly tracked.
What happens after my Registered Agent is served?
After your LLC’s Registered Agent is served, they will send you the legal documents. From there, you can follow the court’s instructions and decide whether you need an attorney.
If you are the Registered Agent for your LLC, the Process Server will bring the legal documents directly to you at your home or business address (whichever is listed on your LLC Articles of Organization).
If a friend or family member is the Registered Agent for your LLC, the Process Server will bring the legal documents directly to them at their home or business address (whichever is listed on your LLC Articles of Organization).
If you hire a Commercial Registered Agent, the Process Server will bring the documents directly to their office.
What’s the best Registered Agent to choose for my LLC?
You, a friend, or a family member can be the Registered Agent for your LLC. Doing this will save you money.
Alternatively, you can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
Benefits of hiring a Commercial Registered Agent are:
- They are open during regular business hours all week
- Process Servers go to them and not your house or your friend’s house
- They have a system in place to promptly notify you if legal documents are received
What happens if I ignore Service of Process for a lawsuit?
If you ignore Service of Process for a lawsuit, the court case will continue without you.
This will likely lead to a default judgment.
A default judgment against an LLC
This usually results in them winning and the court enters a default judgment against your LLC.
In summary, choose your Registered Agent wisely. And don’t ignore Service of Process.
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.