What is a Michigan Registered Agent?
A 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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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
Can I be my own Registered Agent in Michigan?
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. Or watch the video below:
When should I Appoint a Michigan Registered Agent?
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.
Does My Michigan Resident Agent Need to Have an Address in Michigan?
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.
What is a Registered Office?
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.
Is a Michigan Registered Agent liable?
Many people wonder if the person who’s listed as the LLC Registered Agent is liable if the LLC gets sued. Often people are worried about this if they list a friend or family member as their LLC Registered Agent (they wouldn’t want their friend or family member to get into trouble for helping out).
The good news is that simply being a Registered Agent in Michigan doesn’t make that person liable for the LLC’s debt or liabilities. That means if the LLC were sued, the Registered Agent wouldn’t be involved.
Remember, a Registered Agent is just there to receive legal documents (Service of Process) and state notices on behalf of your LLC. Just receiving the legal document doesn’t involve the Registered Agent in the lawsuit. And they aren’t liable for anything beyond giving the legal documents to the LLC members.
In the event of a lawsuit, it is the legal entity (the LLC) that is being sued. Not the Registered Agent. And that’s also true if you’re acting as your own Registered Agent (or another LLC owner is the Registered Agent). You (or the other owners) wouldn’t be involved in the lawsuit; only the LLC itself gets sued.
Said another way, a Registered Agent receives legal documents that are sent to your LLC. Simply receiving these legal documents doesn’t mean the Registered Agent would be involved in a lawsuit.
How Do I Change My Registered Agent in Michigan?
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.
To learn more about how the top Registered Agent companies compare against each other, check out Best Registered Agent Services in Michigan.
How to start an LLC in Michigan?
Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Michigan:
- Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
- Choose who will be your Michigan Resident Agent
- File the Michigan LLC Articles of Organization
- Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
- Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
- Open an LLC bank account
- Check whether you need a business or sales tax license in Michigan
What do you think?
Can you take 10 seconds and rate this lesson?
Michigan LLC Act: Section 450-4209
Michigan LLC Act: Section 450-4207
Michigan Secretary of State: Resident Agent and Registered Office
Michigan Secretary of State: Certificate of Change of Registered Office or Resident Agent (CD-520)