The Homestead law in the United States was one of several United States Federal laws that gave an applicant freehold title up to 160 acres (1/4 section) of undeveloped land outside of the original 13 colonies. The new law required three steps: file an application, improve the land, and file for deed of title. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. Government, including freed slaves, could file an application and improvements to a local land office.
Homestead law therefore allow an individual to register a portion of his real and personal property as “homestead,” thereby making that portion of the individual’s estate off-limits to most creditors. The idea behind these homestead laws is the preservation of the family farm, home, or other assets in the face of severe economic conditions.
State laws greatly vary with respect to homestead law. The laws of some of the states relating to homestead law can be found at the following links.