Michigan Registered Agent

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What is a Michigan Registered Agent?

Registered AgentA Michigan Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail and notices on behalf of your Michigan LLC.

Legal mail (called Service of Process) is sent if your LLC is involved in a lawsuit. Additionally, the state may send notices and reminders to your LLC’s Registered Agent.

Michigan Registered Agents should generally be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm), Monday through Friday.

And the Registered Agent for your LLC in Michigan must have a physical street address in Michigan. PO Box addresses aren’t allowed.

Note: In Michigan, the official name for a Registered Agent is actually Resident Agent, however, the term Registered Agent is more commonly used. They both mean the same thing and we may use these words interchangeably.

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.

Why do I need a Registered Agent in Michigan?

A Registered Agent is required to form an LLC in Michigan. The purpose of a Registered Agent is to accept notices from the courts and the state.

Courts send legal documents (called Service of Process) if your LLC is involved in a lawsuit. Service of Process could include a subpoena, summons, or a complaint.

The court needs to have proof that your LLC received the legal document. This can be done through Certified Mail or a process server (a person delivering court and legal documents).

If your Resident Agent is served, they will send the legal document to you so you can follow the court’s instructions or hire an attorney.

The Secretary of State may send official notices (like stamped copies of documents you submit, or deadline notices) to your Registered Agent. The Registered Agent will also forward these notices to you.

Your LLC’s Registered Agent is a key component of how the court and legal systems work. By requiring all Michigan LLCs to keep a Resident Agent on file with the state, the delivery of court documents can be properly tracked.

Can I be my own Registered Agent in Michigan?

Yes, you can be your own Registered Agent in Michigan.

You actually have 3 options for who can be your Michigan Registered Agent:

  • yourself
  • a friend or family member
  • a Michigan Registered Agent Service

You can save money by being your own Registered Agent, but there are some risks.

What are the risks?

The risks of being your own Michigan Registered Agent are:

  • missing an important notice from the state
  • administrative dissolution
  • missing Service of Process (and potential legal consequences)

These issues are more likely to occur if you:

  • move and forget to update your address with the Michigan Secretary of State
  • travel or leave town for extended periods of time
  • don’t have a reliable address
  • don’t keep up with your mail

We’ll explain a few of these below.

Missing an important notice from the state

Your business needs to promptly receive all important notices sent by the Michigan Secretary of State or any other state agency.

Notices sent by state agencies often have actions that your LLC must take by a certain deadline.

And in some cases, there are penalties and fees if you miss those deadlines. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you have a reliable Registered Agent address to ensure you receive everything sent to your LLC.

Administrative dissolution

As per Section 450.4803 of the Michigan LLC Act, if you are the Registered Agent for your LLC, and you move and don’t update your Registered Agent address within 60 days, the Michigan Attorney General has the power to dissolve (shut down) your LLC.

To clarify, the state isn’t looking over your LLC every single day, so this potential administrative dissolution won’t automatically occur 60 days after you fail to update the Registered Agent address. However, if the state finds out that your Registered Agent address isn’t up to date, and they attempt to notify you but can’t reach you, then they can shut down your LLC.

Legal consequences

Default Judgment
If there is a lawsuit against your LLC, a process server will make multiple attempts to serve your LLC and deliver the court documents.

However, if they are unable to serve your LLC in person, Service of Process can be made through alternative methods (like Certified Mail). This can mean the court notices and/or documents were “delivered” to you, even if you didn’t physically receive them.

And as per Rule 2.603 of the Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure, the person suing your LLC can argue their case without you being there to defend your LLC. In these situations, the person suing your LLC usually wins and the court enters a default judgment against your company.

Contempt of Court
If there is a lawsuit that involves your LLC, the parties might serve your business with a subpoena. The subpoena might ask you to testify in a hearing, or to produce records.

As per Rule 2.506 of the Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure, if you don’t respond to the subpoena, you can be held in contempt of court. This can lead to fines, or the court can issue a bench warrant. This means the sheriff can come seize the records or force you to show up in court.

So should I be my own Registered Agent?

You certainly can. While these risks of being your own Registered Agent do exist, they don’t come up all that often. And you can save money by being your own Michigan Registered Agent.

Having said that, hiring a Michigan Registered Agent Service can provide additional benefits, such as address privacy.

Registered Agent Information is Public Record in Michigan

While you (or a friend or family member) can be your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may not want to have a home address listed in the public records.

The information you enter in your Articles of Organization becomes public record with the Corporations Division at the Michigan Secretary of State.

Not only is this information searchable by the public, but other websites download the state’s records and republish them on their own website. Then things begin to spread as other public record websites take that same information and list it on their website too (and the process repeats itself).

Pretty soon your address is listed on many websites and people can easily find it by doing a Google search.

There is a solution, though, if you’d like to keep your address off public records. We’ll discuss this below.

What’s the best Michigan Registered Agent option to choose?

Choosing the best Michigan Registered Agent option for your business depends on a few factors. Read all 3 options to help you decide.

Option #1 (You):

You can be your LLC Registered Agent in Michigan if:

  • you are a resident of Michigan, and
  • you have a physical street address in Michigan.

You also should be comfortable with your address being listed on public records.

What do I need to do? There’s no extra form to file or extra fee to pay. Just enter your name and address in the Resident Agent fields of the Articles of Organization. Once your LLC is formed, make sure you check your mail regularly.

Why choose this option? This is a good option to choose if you would like to save money (since you won’t need to hire a Michigan Registered Agent Service).

Option #2 (Friend or Family):

A friend or family member can be your Michigan Registered Agent if:

  • they are a resident of Michigan, and
  • they have a physical street address in Michigan

They also should be comfortable with their address being listed on public records.

What do I need to do? There’s no extra form to file or extra fee to pay. Just enter their name and address in the Resident Agent fields of the Articles of Organization. Once your LLC is formed, make sure your friend or family member checks their mail regularly.

Why choose this option? This is a good option to choose if you aren’t a resident of Michigan, but want to save money (since you won’t need to hire a Michigan Registered Agent Service).

Option #3 (Michigan Registered Agent Service):

A Michigan Registered Agent Service (aka Commercial Registered Agent) is a company that specializes in receiving mail and Service of Process for your LLC.

Michigan Registered Agents usually charge $100 to $300 per year. After they receive mail for your LLC, they’ll forward it to you or upload it to your online account.

Why choose this option? This is a good option to choose if you:

  • aren’t a resident of Michigan
  • don’t have a friend or family member’s address to use, or
  • don’t want your address listed in the Articles of Organization

If you’d like to hire a Registered Agent Service, the company we recommend is Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the Registered Agent Service we use) for a few reasons:

  • They’ve been in business for over 20 years
  • They have great customer service, and
  • They let you use their address in your entire LLC filing (in order to keep yours off public record)

How to keep your address off public records:

Many filers in Michigan start businesses from their homes. So you should be aware that the address on your LLC Articles of Organization gets listed on public records.

If you want to keep your address off public records, you can hire a Michigan Registered Agent Service that will allow you to use their address throughout your Articles of Organization.

Northwest Registered Agent offers this unique service at no additional cost.

Special discounted pricing for LLC University readers

Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.

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.

(Check out our Northwest Registered Agent review to learn more)

How Do I Appoint A Registered Agent In Michigan?

You appoint your Resident Agent in Michigan on your LLC formation paperwork (aka the Articles of Organization).

If you will be your own Registered Agent, just enter your information in the Resident Agent fields.

If a friend or family member will be your Michigan Registered Agent, check which address they would like you to use, and then enter their information in the fields.

If you’ll be hiring a Registered Agent Service like Northwest, hire them, then enter their information in the Resident Agent fields. Make sure to hire your Michigan Registered Agent Service before entering their information in the Resident Agent fields.

That’s it! There’s no additional form or paperwork to file to appoint your Registered Agent in Michigan.

Registered Agent FAQs

Yes, you can be your own Registered Agent in Michigan if you are resident of the state and you have a physical street address.

Check out Can I be my own Registered Agent in Michigan for more details.

You must appoint a Registered Agent (aka Resident Agent) when you file your Articles of Organization. It doesn’t matter whether you are your own Registered Agent, using a friend or family member, or a Michigan Registered Agent Service – it all goes in the same place on the form.

Is there any paperwork I need to do before choosing a Registered Agent?

No, you don’t need to file anything other than the Articles of Organization (which forms your LLC).

Some states require a separate “Consent of Registered Agent” form, but Michigan doesn’t.

Yes. Michigan law requires Registered Agents (aka Resident Agents) to have a Michigan street address. This can’t be a PO Box. It must be a physical street address.

A Registered Office is simply the address of the Registered Agent for your LLC. This is the address where Service of Process and state notices will be sent.

A Registered Office address, along with the Registered Agent’s name, is publicly listed on file with the Secretary of State.

You can change your Registered Agent at any time (and as many times as you need).

Typically, there are two ways to change your Registered Agent:

  • File Form CD-520 with the Secretary of State. The filing fee is $5.
  • Update it on your Annual Report by entering your new Registered Agent information.

Switching from yourself as Registered Agent to a Registered Agent company

If you’ve been the Registered Agent for your LLC, and you’d like to switch to a Michigan Registered Agent Service, the new company will usually file the paperwork for you. When you sign up for their services, the new company will ask if you’re changing Registered Agents.

For example, if you hire Northwest Registered Agent, they’ll file the change of Registered Agent paperwork for you.

Switching from your current Registered Agent company

If you’re using a Michigan Registered Agent Service, and you’d like to change to another company, or to being your own Registered Agent, there is one additional step.

First, file the change of Registered Agent with the state. Then, contact the prior Registered Agent company and cancel their services.

Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Michigan:

  1. Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
  2. Choose who will be your Michigan Resident Agent
  3. File the Michigan LLC Articles of Organization
  4. Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
  6. Open an LLC bank account
  7. Check whether you need a business or sales tax license in Michigan

Next Step: Articles of Organization

Once you determine who will serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next lesson: Michigan LLC Articles of Organization.

If you plan on hiring a Registered Agent Service, please do so before going to the next step. You will need their address for your Articles of Organization.

What do you think?

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Matt Horwitz


Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
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.

4 comments on “Michigan Registered Agent”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. So from reading this article, am I to believe that a failed attempt from a process server at serving my resident agent (my home), will constitute successful service anyway? Thank you.

    “Additionally, if a process server (the person who delivers court documents and notices of lawsuits) is unsuccessful in reaching your Michigan Registered Agent, a court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it (this is called a default judgment).”

    Reply
  2. So how does one become their own registered agent? Where do I go to fill out paperwork?

    Reply

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Matt Horwitz founder of LLC University
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator
LLC University®