A statute of limitation is the amount of time a person can take to take legal action on a certain event. When it comes to debt, the statute of limitation is the amount of time a creditor can take to ask a court to force you to pay for a debt.
The court system doesn’t keep track of the statute on your debt. It’s your responsibility to prove the debt has passed its statute of limitation.
Categories of Debt
Debts fall into one of four categories. It’s important to know which type of debt you have because the time limits are different for each type. If you’re in doubt, check with your attorney about which type of debt you have.
- Oral Agreements: These are debts made through a verbal agreement and there is nothing in writing.
- Written Contracts: A signed contract by you and the creditor falls in the category of a written contract — even written on a napkin. But, a written contract must include the terms and conditions of the loan. For example, the amount of the loan and the monthly payment.
- Promissory Notes: A promissory note is a written agreement to pay back a debt by payments, at an interest rate, and by a certain date and time. Mortgages and student loans are two examples of promissory notes.
- Open-Ended Accounts: A revolving balance you can repay and borrow again. Credit cards, in-store credit, and lines of credit are all examples of open-ended accounts. If you can only borrow the money on time, it is not an open-ended account.
The Statutes of Limitations for Each State
Each state has its own statute of limitations on debt, and vary depending on the type of debt you have. Usually, it is between three and six years, but it can be as high as 15 years in some states. Before you respond to a debt collection, find out the debt statute of limitations for your state.
If the statute of limitations has passed, there may be less incentive for you to pay the debt.
These are the statutes of limitation, measured by years, in each state, as of May 2019.
State of Statute of Limitations on Debt Conclusion
Check your state’s statute of limitations for the time limit for your specific claim. Because it might be different than what you read here. (Example: California)
Also, not all states include mortgages in the statute of limitations for written contracts. Your state might have a separate law and filing period for a mortgage breach or any number of distinct lawsuits.