Applying for a brand
Mail an application to:
MDOL Brands Enforcement
PO Box 202001
Helena, MT 59620-2001
PLEASE NOTE: New brand applications and brand transfer requests are not processed over the counter.
Brand Formats and Characters
When applying for a livestock brand, MDOL suggests applying for brands that are side by side containing two letters and/or numbers, with a bar, quarter circle or slash.
The following characters are the ONLY characters permitted on new brand applications:
- A, B, C, D, E, F, H, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z,
- 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
- Box, Diamond, Heart, Triangle
- bar, slash, quarter circle
Characters and formats that cannot be issued include (but are not limited to):
- Single letter, figure, character or symbol,
- Inverted letter or number,
- 'I', 'G', 'Q', or '1', milliron, standing quarter circle,
- There are no “CC” or “JJ” combinations available.
The Conflict Checking Process
Per 81-3-103, Montana Code Annotated, new brands must be distinguishable with reasonable certainty from all existing marks and brands. With over 50,000 recorded brands in Montana, this can be a challenging process. Applicants are encouraged to include many choices on their brand application (in preferential order) to increase chances of obtaining a brand.
- Ownership by a Business
- When recording a brand to a company, corporation, partnership, etc., please furnish a list of all officers and people authorized to sign bills of sale when selling livestock.
- Business names must be registered with Montana Secretary of State (www.sos.mt.gov),
or proof of registration with another state must be provided.
- Multiple Owners
- When recording a brand to multiple owners, designate either tenants in common or joint tenancy on the application:
- If recorded as tenants in common, all recorded owners must sign each bill of sale for branded livestock;
- If recorded in joint tenancy, any owner may sign bills of sale for branded livestock on behalf of all recorded owners.
- Regardless of the designation, notorized signatures of all recorded brand owners are required to transfer a brand.
New Brand Fees
- New brand application fee: $200
- If no brand is issued, half of the application fee ($100) is non-refundable.
- Additional designation to allow freeze branding on cattle: $200
- Freeze branding is allowed for horses at no additional charge.
- The application includes a maximum of one cattle, one horse, and one sheep brand.
- Payment is required at time of application.
Ornamental brands are for decorative purposes only; any application of ornamental brands to livestock is strictly prohibited. Ornamental brands otherwise work just like real brands – you must apply for the brand you want. If the brand you request is already recorded, it cannot be issued. When applying for an ornamental brand, you may submit several choices to have a better chance of selecting a brand that is available. A fee of $200 is required with the application.
Be sure to read and complete the ornamental brand application form in its entirety (i.e., name, mailing address, signature to be notarized).
Ornamental Brand Application Form
Changes to Brand Owner Name
A legal name change
, such as a name change due to marriage or divorce, may be completed with a Name Change Affidavit
. This affidavit may be submitted with your brand rerecord; otherwise the fee is $10.
A brand transfer constitutes the following scenarios and requires the completion of the Assignment of Brand Form, which can be found on the back of your original brand certificate:
- Adding a name(s);
- Removing a name(s);
- Changes to business/ranch name;
- Changing the ownership type from tenants in common to joint tenancy or vice versa.
The fee to transfer a brand is $200.
All parties listed as recorded owners on the brand must sign the Assignment of Brand form in order for any change to occur on the brand owner name (except legal name changes done with a name change affidavit).
ALL SIGNATURES MUST BE NOTARIZED
Power of Attorney: If a brand owner is unable to sign for medical or other reasons, a person with power of attorney for that brand owner may sign on their behalf. A copy of power of attorney papers must be submitted with the Assignment of Brand form.
Deceased Owner(s): If a brand owner is deceased, see information below or call 406/444-2045.
Owner Name Change For Brands With Deceased Owner(s)
A Brand Owner name change involving a deceased owner requires very specific paperwork. Please call our office with any questions at 406/444-2045.
The brand is listed in more than one name and is listed in joint ownership: Submit a completed Assignment of Brand form with signatures of all living brand owners and a copy of the death certificate for the deceased brand owner.
The estate for the deceased owner was probated: Submit a completed Assignment of Brand form with signatures of all living brand owners and the signature of the Personal Representative of the deceased brand owner. A copy of the personal representative papers must be submitted in addition to the Assignment of Brand form.
There was no probate or for the deceased brand owner's estate
: Submit a completed Assignment of Brand
form with signatures of all living brand owners and all living heirs
(spouse or children) of the deceased brand owner. The heirs must each sign an Affidavit of Survivorship and
the Assignment of Brand form.
Important Information Regarding Brand Ownership
- When recording a brand to a company, corporation, partnership, etc., please furnish a list of all officers and people authorized to sign bills of sale when selling livestock. Business names must be registered with the MT Secretary of State's office (www.sos.mt.gov), or proof of registration with another state must be provided.
- Per Administrative Rule of Montana 32.18.105, multiple names may recorded in the following manner only: "x and y" or "x or y".
- The designation "and/or" is not acceptable.
- A brand recorded in "x and y" designates tenants in common.
- A brand recorded in "x or y" designates joint tenancy.