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In the United States, a registered agent is a business or individual designated to receive service of process (SOP) when a business entity is a party in a legal action such as a lawsuit or summons.
The registered agent must be available at the designated registered office address during normal business hours to accept legal documents on behalf of the business entity it is serving as registered agent for.
This can benefit small and home-based business owners by adding a layer of privacy and preventing them the embarrassment of receiving service of process at home or their normal place of business.
Many bigger corporations use a registered agent as well, so one person does not have the responsibility of always being in the office.