Can someone sue me for repaymenton a loan if it was made over 20 years ago and was in my deceased husband’s name?

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Can someone sue me for repaymenton a loan if it was made over 20 years ago and was in my deceased husband’s name?

My father borrowed $37,000 from a friend in TX 20 years ago. My father died 3 years later. This man and his wife insist that my mother pays them back the money my father owed them. My mother has a copy of the paper my father signed and that was notarized in TX. In this paper it says nothing about my mother or me paying anything back. Plus they misspelled my father’s name on the paper. We currently live with my uncle in FL and this lady keeps harassing us and telling us to pay her back. Can she really do that? Do we have to pay her back?

Asked on July 13, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

There is the possibility that someone can sue you for repayment on a loan made over twenty years ago even though you never signed any documentation personally regarding the loan. However, suing for such a claim and proving it in a court where the plaintiff would receive a judgment against you are entirely different matters.

Twenty years is a long time to wait to go after an unpaid loan that has been owed to be repaid many years ago. All States in this country have statute of limitations requiring a certain time period for a lawsuit to be filed or it would be barred. Reasons for this is that people die (as in this case) and memories of witnesses fade assuming they can even be found.

I see big statute of limitation problems for the person claiming the $37,000 owed. You did not sign the obligation so you as the child of your deceased father are not responsible for the old debt. Your mother in theory if she was married to your father when the claimed debt arose may be responsible under community property laws (if applicable) for a part of the amount even if she she did not sign for it, but she still has a pretty good defense under the applicable statute of limitations.

Why did the claimant wait so long for desired payment? Why the delay?

Perhaps consulting with a good contract lawyer and paying for a letter to be written to the person making the clains for the $37,000 would be a wise and relatively inexpensive investment given the amount demanded?

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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