The decisions made during the formation and registration of a business can have a substantial and long-term impact on the success of the business, including the ease of operation. A business formation attorney provides advice and guidance during each phase of a business startup, including selecting your business structure, assessing liability, and drafting necessary business documents.
One very important step in forming a business is selecting a resident agent. Whether you are an in-state business entity or out-of-state business entity, you must have a Maryland resident agent.
What is a Resident Agent?
A resident agent, or registered agent in many other states, is a person who is designated to accept service of process on behalf of the company. For instance, if a person or entity files a lawsuit against the company, the resident agent would be the person who is served with the complaint on behalf of the company. In addition, the resident agent also receives certain notices and documents on behalf of the company from government agencies.
Because companies may have thousands of employees and hundreds of departments, a resident agent is necessary to ensure that the company is served properly with notice of the commencement of a court action or important governmental notices. If a company does not appoint and maintain a resident agent, the company may fail to receive critical notices and documents. Furthermore, the company may lose its good standing status to conduct business in Maryland.
Who Can Serve as a Resident Agent?
An individual (18 years of age or older), company, or law firm may serve as a resident agent provided that the agent has a legal address in Maryland. The agent must be able to receive notices and documents on behalf of the company at this address and forward those documents to the company. The resident agent or resident agent’s information is included in the public record for the company with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation. A resident agent does not need to be an employee of the company or a shareholder, partner, or member.
In some cases, a company may choose to appoint a law firm as the resident agent so that important legal documents are sent directly to the law firm. A law firm understands how to process and respond to important legal documents in an efficient and timely manner so that important deadlines are not missed. If a resident agent fails to handle notices and documents served on the agent correctly, the company could face substantial liability.
Choosing a Maryland Resident Agent is Extremely Important
Your resident agent will receive important legal and government notices and documents. It is very important that you choose a resident agent that you can trust to process and forward documents immediately. If you need advice about choosing a resident agent or any other business matter, schedule a consultation with business transaction attorney Stephen Thienel.