How do I get money back lent to a family member 6 years ago?

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2012

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How do I get money back lent to a family member 6 years ago?

We loaned money to family member, they used this in one of their businesses. We have a promissory note but are now struggling to get our money back. The money went into their second business. The idea was for us to share costs on a property here owned by parents, we were to pay half of all expenses, the house has since sold, and funds we understood were to be distributed between parents, and both brothers. Instead the proceeds of the sale went to parents and remainder into brothers 1st business account instead of forwarding our share which amounted to over $21K used out of original amount lent to them at over $40K between 5 and 6 years ago. What are our legal options?

Asked on June 30, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your only legal option when someone fails to pay you as per either a promissory note or some other agreement is to sue them for the money. If the note or other agreement is clear as to the obligation to pay, the case should be straightforward. Where you can get tripped up is on the statute of limitations, or the time period to sue--if that time passes, you may no longer bring a lawsuit. In your state, the statute of limitations on a written agreement is only 5 years. That is not 5 years from when the agreement was made, but 5 years from when it was breched or violated--that is, when the family member failed to pay when payment was due. If that time period is running out on you, you should retain an attorney immediately to help you file an action.

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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