How to Establish your Homestead or Farm Legally

I am not a lawyer and this should not be taken as legal advice. A lawyer should be consulted anytime legalities are involved.

Once you've bought the land and settled in, it's time to think about establishing your farm legally. If you want to sell products, have customers on your property or run any other type of business, registering your farm as an actual business can go a long ways in protecting yourself, your family and your farm legally and financially. So, how do you do this? Good question. There's several ways and it varies widely depending on your state. The majority of the time the first step is going to be picking out a name that's not already taken. Your farm may already have a name, but it may be taken by another farm on the other side of your state or the country. Speak to a lawyer about your goals and name choice to find out what you need to do to stay safe legally. You can start by Googling your name, then searching for it on social media. If you'd like to find out if it's registered in your state, do a Google search for "[state's name] business name search" Find the state's official website that ends in ".gov." It may or may not look like this:

You may also want to search surrounding states to see if there are any farms with the same name close by.

Once you've secured a name, decide what type of business you'd like your farm to be. There are pros and cons to each one, but we decided to go with an LLC. This website goes into more detail, but be sure to consult your lawyer and speak about what may be best for you.

Next, there's several ways to go about establishing your business. We decided to go through LegalZoom. They did most of the work for us. If you'd like to do it yourself, how to register depends widely upon your state and you'll need to do research based on your location.

Once you've established your business, you can take out insurance and open bank accounts as needed. This is a great step in separating your business finances from your personal. It is also a huge step in protecting your farm from liability.

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