Can a Registered Agent Still Be Served if an Entity Terminates?

The rules for serving an individual are fairly straightforward, even though they vary from state to state and are based on specific situations. For example, if an individual is deceased, obviously a process server can no longer deliver papers to the decedent. However, with a corporation or other legal entity, you may wonder what happens to your legal papers when the corporation dissolves. Can a registered agent be served instead?

Answer: It Depends

Whether an entity terminates due to bankruptcy, going out of business, or the death of the owner, that doesn’t usually shield the company from lawsuits.

Depending on what state the business is in, registered agents of that business may still be eligible to receive legal papers. The registered agent’s obligation is to the entity itself, even though it’s been dissolved, but not to any individuals within that organization.

Unless a registered agent’s contract specifies they can’t be served if the entity they represent terminates, they usually can be served. And, if the registered agent cannot be served, we can still serve process on the president, vice president, trustees, general managers, directors, or other official representatives of the entity when it was terminated.

If the registered agent cannot be located, we may be able to serve the Secretary of State. Each state has its own rules, and before we send anything to the Secretary of State, we check the rules. 

In order to serve the New York Secretary of State, for example, it must be a New York action. If it isn’t, we have to find another route for service.

Skilled Process Servers Nationwide

At Torri’s Legal Services, we know that not all service of process is cut-and-dried. That’s why we stay on top of the latest changes in the industry and the laws so we can quickly and correctly serve your legal papers nationwide or even internationally. Contact us today for a quote!

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