What is the statute of limitations for a company to contact you over an outstanding debt?

UPDATED: Dec 3, 2011

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What is the statute of limitations for a company to contact you over an outstanding debt?

My parents died 3 to 3 1/2 years ago. Then 10 monthsago, I was contacted by the funeral home that I had an outstanding balance of over $4,000 on both of their funerals. I told them to send me a statement and I finally got it today. It is not a running statement, just a short letter to my brother and I, and a list of the insurances and the amount they paid. I know my mom had a balance on her funeral that my dad was making monthly payments on but I was almost certain he had enough insurance to cover his funeral and finish hers.

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You do not indicate which state you are writing from. That could be critical, since every state has its own statutes of limitations. That said, it is most likely that the funderal home still has time to sue you: the debt you describe is most likely one based on a written contract or agreement. In most states, the statute of limitations to sue on a written agreement is at least 4 years, sometimes up to 6 years or even more--only rarely is it less than 4. Also, the statute would start running not from when your parents died, but from the date of the default, or when you failed to pay for the funereral. Since that was probably 30 - 60 days after the funeral (which itself is usually a week, give or take, after death), it's likely that the debt is only around 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 years old at this time.

For a more definitive answer, repost your question with your state.

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