Why a Registered Agent is Important

You may have read recently that PepsiCo was handed a $1.26 Billion default judgment for failing to appear in court. The damages award was handed down on September 30th; PepsiCo said it didn’t even know about the lawsuit until October 6th.

How did that happen?  PepsiCo claims it first received a legal document related to the case from their North Carolina registered agent on September 15th.  On that day,  a copy of a co-defendant’s letter was forwarded to the Deputy General Counsel in PepsiCo’s law department.  The Counsel’s secretary set the letter aside because she was busy preparing for a board meeting.  Then, she forgot about the letter – oops!  On October 5, when she received a forwarded copy of the plaintiff’s motion for default judgment, she sent that document and the letter she had forgotten about to the legal assistant for Aquafina matters.  The next day the legal assistant sent the documents to a department attorney, who then called the registered agent to get a copy of the complaint.


Was the agent at fault for this little fiasco?  PepsiCo was at fault, not their agent, and there is something to be learned from this mess.  Here are some things you need to keep in mind regarding your registered agent.


1) To review: the Registered Agent is the business or individual designated to receive service of process when a business entity is a party in a legal action such as a lawsuit or summons.  The Resident Agent needs to be available in order to receive the legal papers being served on the company.  Most small business owners name themselves as the registered agent.  If you travel frequently or are difficult to contact, hire a professional service or ask your lawyer or accountant to be your registered agent.


2) The street address listed as your business address is the one on public record.  Anyone searching for an address to deliver papers will find that street address.  If you move, you normally have only 30 days to notify the proper authorities to change your address to your new location.

3) When you receive papers for your company, look at them immediately.  I have seen too many cases of people putting aside papers because they were either too busy or too scared to look at them.  Those papers generally have a deadline for responding.  In a lawsuit, you normally have 20 days to respond so you need to contact your attorney right away to give them the best opportunity to defend you.


4) If you move out of state, you need to find someone to replace you as the Resident Agent in the state where your business is incorporated.  The Resident Agent must have a street address in the state where the business is located to be a valid agent.  There are companies who provide Resident Agent services, and we can help you locate one if needed.


5) If you have a professional Resident Agent or have a friend or business associate filling this position, ensure that your contact information is up-to-date.  Your agent should have your email address, phone number, mobile number, fax number and home or office address. If papers are served, your agent needs to contact you immediately.  Don’t make it hard for that person to do a good job for you.  Like PepsiCo, it could cost you a lot in the long run.


6) If you receive notice that your Resident Agent has resigned, you must find a replacement immediately. In many states, your company will be dissolved if you go more than 30 days without a valid Resident Agent.


So remember, a Registered Agent isn’t just some “fill in the blank” spot on your incorporation papers.  This is a valid and often forgotten part of your ongoing business operations.  Take the time to make sure your Registered Agent information is up to date!

What You Don’t Know About Your HOA/POA Could Cost You

Pine Mountain Club is a property owners association and also a 501(c)(7) social club subject to specific IRS regulations about membership income and activities.  A homeowners’ association or property owners’ association (abbrev. HOA or POA) is an organization created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a development of homes.  California HOA/POA’s are subject to the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act, which is the common name of the Civil Code beginning with section 1350.

But here’s what you really need to know, and so many of my friends and neighbors in PMCPOA don’t know this:

If you fail to pay your association assessment, you can lose your property through foreclosure!
There is no provision to withhold your assessment for personal reasons, hardship, or disagreement with the financial management of the HOA.  Additionally, the association is not required to grant you any relief through a hardship plan.


In 2008, Pine Mountain Club board members did develop and approve a hardship payment plan but it is not publicized or mentioned much.  I’m not even sure that the program is still available.  If you have not made your assessment payment on time, you need to contact Best Alliance and inquire about this program before you lose your home.


What else you might not know: PMCPOA applies your payment to the oldest assessment due and will not accept partial payments in the office.  You cannot make a full payment on the most recent assessment if you still have an old assessment and related fees outstanding.

What if you have a legitimate dispute regarding your assessment? An example of a legitimate dispute would be your assertion that you made your assessment payment on time, but were sent to collections anyway.

According to the Davis-Stirling Act, “an owner may dispute an assessment debt by submitting a written request for dispute resolution to the association as set forth in Article 5 (commencing with Section 1363.810) of Chapter 4 of Title 6 of Division 2 of the Civil Code.  In addition, an association may not initiate a foreclosure without participating in alternative dispute resolution with a neutral third party as set forth in Article 2 (commencing with Section 1369.510) of Chapter 7 of Title 6 of Division 2 of the Civil Code, if so requested by the owner.  Binding arbitration shall not be available if the association intends to initiate a judicial foreclosure.”

Note:  This is not intended to be legal advice.  If you truly believe you have a dispute, seek an attorney experienced in association matters.


The association must also follow California foreclosure law if initiating foreclosure.  More on that to come.

Loan Modification Firms Cannot Collect Upfront Fees

On October 11, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 94 which took effect immediately. This bill bars loan modification firms, attorneys and other brokers from asking for upfront fees when working with struggling borrowers to get their mortgages modified. This ban expires on January 1, 2013.

This action was a swift follow up to massive numbers of complaints to the California Department of Real Estate from consumers who said they paid up to $4,000 upfront to firms that often abandoned them, or never started the process at all.


The new law also specifies that loan modification firms must tell potential clients they can get the same services for free from government-approved nonprofit mortgage counselors. The firms cannot receive payment until they have performed all services promised in a contract with the borrower. Borrowers must pay the loan modification firm for services provided, even if the firm can’t get the loan modified.


What I have personally witnessed (prior to this bill) is a double-whammy with lawyers pressing scared borrowers to pay a retainer to sue their lender in a “produce the note” strategy coupled with a second retainer to work on a loan modification while the lawsuit was pending. This hit would cost a desperate borrower at least $6,000. The rub? The lawyers never reviewed their client’s financial situation to see if a loan modification was even possible. Banks have several criteria for granting a loan modification, and if a borrower has an excessive debt load, or is unemployed, a loan modification may not even be possible at all, no matter the amount paid to a lawyer.

Personally, I am thrilled that this bill passed. I hate seeing these sharks taking advantage of people.

If you are interested in scheduling a no-fee, no obligation appointment with me to review your financial situation and see if a loan modification might work for you, give me a call at 661-242-2636!

Accounting and Bookkeeping in Lebec

Accounting For Success, Inc. is pleased to announce  we are providing accounting, tax and consulting services for individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations in the mountain communities of Lebec, Frazier Park, Lockwood Valley, Lake of the Woods, Pinion Pines, Cuddy Valley and Pine Mountain Club.  We also serve clients across the United States!

In addition to accounting and bookkeeping services, these are a few of the other items we handle for our clients:

  • Strategic planning, development and leadership of finance function with direct oversight of all accounting, payroll and banking activities.
  • Prepare financial reports, including month and year end.
  • Work directly with senior management, taxing authorities, legal counsel, external auditors, and bank/investment representatives.
  • Budgeting, forecasting, and variance analysis for complex entities.
  • Financial modeling, cash flow analysis and ad hoc reporting.
  • Negotiate, review, and adhere to performance and reporting requirements for all contracts, including grants and leases.
  • Grant prospect research and application development.
  • QuickBooks consulting, including customized solutions tailored to your requirements.

If you’re ready to work with an accounting firm dedicated to your success, give us a call at 661-242-2636 and schedule your free initial consultation!

Accounting and Bookkeeping in Frazier Park

Accounting For Success, Inc. is pleased to announce  we are providing accounting, tax and consulting services for individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations in the mountain communities of Lebec, Frazier Park, Lockwood Valley, Lake of the Woods, Pinion Pines, Cuddy Valley and Pine Mountain Club.  We also serve clients across the United States!

In addition to accounting and bookkeeping services, these are a few of the other items we handle for our clients:

  • Strategic planning, development and leadership of finance function with direct oversight of all accounting, payroll and banking activities.
  • Prepare financial reports, including month and year end.
  • Work directly with senior management, taxing authorities, legal counsel, external auditors, and bank/investment representatives.
  • Budgeting, forecasting, and variance analysis for complex entities.
  • Financial modeling, cash flow analysis and ad hoc reporting.
  • Negotiate, review, and adhere to performance and reporting requirements for all contracts, including grants and leases.
  • Grant prospect research and application development.
  • QuickBooks consulting, including customized solutions tailored to your requirements.

If you’re ready to work with an accounting firm dedicated to your success, give us a call at 661-242-2636 and schedule your free initial consultation!

Accounting and Bookkeeping in Pine Mountain Club

Accounting For Success, Inc. is pleased to announce  we are providing accounting, tax and consulting services for individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations in the mountain communities of Lebec, Frazier Park, Lockwood Valley, Lake of the Woods, Pinion Pines, Cuddy Valley and Pine Mountain Club.  We also serve clients across the United States!

In addition to accounting and bookkeeping services, these are a few of the other items we handle for our clients:

  • Strategic planning, development and leadership of finance function with direct oversight of all accounting, payroll and banking activities.
  • Prepare financial reports, including month and year end.
  • Work directly with senior management, taxing authorities, legal counsel, external auditors, and bank/investment representatives.
  • Budgeting, forecasting, and variance analysis for complex entities.
  • Financial modeling, cash flow analysis and ad hoc reporting.
  • Negotiate, review, and adhere to performance and reporting requirements for all contracts, including grants and leases.
  • Grant prospect research and application development.
  • QuickBooks consulting, including customized solutions tailored to your requirements.

If you’re ready to work with an accounting firm dedicated to your success, give us a call at 661-242-2636 and schedule your free initial consultation!