What to do to collect a $5,000 debt?

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2010

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What to do to collect a $5,000 debt?

I would like to sue my sister for a loan of $5,000 but do not know what type of lawyer I would need. I do know that this amount is too large for small claims, which in LA is $3,000. Also, I need to know if there is a date limitation because I loaned it to her 01/09?

Asked on August 19, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Alot depends on the exact circumstances (was the loan in writing or is the only agreement oral? is there  any security for the loan--i.e. any property serving as collateral? when was the money due back--it's not in default until repyament is missed? etc.), but generally:

1) If you won't pay, then suing is probably the only recourse

2) There is always a time limit on how long you have to sue; therefore don't delay in contacting a lawyer. In most situations, if your sister actually defaulted in January '09, you'd still be able to sue, but until a lawyer evaluates your specific situation, you don't know--that's why you should not  delay.

3) Again, the date you loaned the money doesn't matter; what matters is when default occured, or when repayment was missed.

4) Almost any attorney could help you with this--certainly almost any one who's not completely specialized in some narrow area (e.g. not a divorce, trusts and estates, or criminal defense attorney).

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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