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How To Walk Away From Mortgages, Credit Card Debt, Medical Bills, Loans, and Stress

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Statutes of Limitations For Mortgage and Credit Card Debt Litigation For All 50 States

An excerpt from Walk Away From Debt For A Better Future

Generally mortgages or notes that accompany deeds of trust are going to come under "Written Contracts," and credit card debt is going to come under "Open Accounts."

Walk Away From Credit Card Debt cover

Medical bills might come under Oral Agreements or Written Contracts, depending on whether you signed anything, and if so, what the fine print said.

Promissory notes are something the average person never runs into – unless perhaps they do a short sale or a deed-in-lieu return to bank on an underwater home. Then a promissory note could indeed be slipped into the stack of papers they ask you to sign. Promissory notes also come into existence when you tell a debt collector that "I promise to pay." Do not use the word "promise" – it has real legal significance.

It's tempting to think that liberal states will favor consumers with short statutes of limitations, and conservative states will have long statutes of limitations. This is not necessarily so: Washington DC is indeed the consumer champion with 3-year limitations on all debt lawsuits – but Massachusetts, reckoned liberal by most, is in the middle with 6-year limitations on all debt lawsuits. And Mississippi has statutes of limitations as short as DC.

There are some online charts listed below this table, some of them with good plain-English information – and some very important notes.

StateOral AgreementsWritten ContractsPromissory NotesOpen Accounts
Alabama (AL)6663
Alaska (AK)6666
Arizona (AZ)3653
Arkansas (AR)3563
California (CA)2444
Colorado (CO)6666
Connecticut (CT)3666
Delaware (DE)3363
District of Columbia (DC)3333
Florida (FL)4554
Georgia (GA)4664
Hawaii (HI)6666
Idaho (ID)45104
Illinois (IL)51065
Indiana (IN)610106
Iowa (IA)51055
Kansas (KS)3553
Kentucky (KY)515155
Louisiana (LA)1010103
Maine (ME)6666
Maryland (MD)3363
Massachusetts (MA)6666
Michigan (MI)615?66
Minnesota (MN)6666
Mississippi (MS)3333
Missouri (MO)510105
Montana (MT)5885
Nebraska (NB)4564
Nevada (NV)4634
New Hampshire (NH)3363
New Jersey (NJ)6666
New Mexico (NM)4664
New York (NY)6666
North Carolina (NC)3353
North Dakota (ND)6666
Ohio (OH)615156
Oklahoma (OK)3553
Oregon (OR)6666
Pennsylvania (PA)4646
Rhode Island (RI)15151010
South Carolina (SC)101033
South Dakota (SD)6666
Tennessee (TN)6666
Texas (TX)4444
Utah (UT)4664
Vermont (VT)6656
Virginia (VA)3563
Washington (WA)3663
West Virginia (WV)51065
Wisconsin (WI)66106
Wyoming (WY)810108

Very Important Note #1: if you pay one penny on an overdue debt, in most states, in most circumstances, you have "reset" the statute of limitations. That is, if the statute of limitations on a credit card debt was due to expire in 30 days, and you send the collection agency $10 – you've just reset the clock ... to 3 years, 7 years, or whatever the statute of limitations is in your state. Please resist the temptation to just "send in a little bit." Also, please resist the temptation to send in a check for $1.00 as an insult; it will reset the statute of limitations.

Very Important Note #: Check your state's laws. We depend on legal databases, and though these are considered accurate, different states have different laws for sub-categories of debt.

A couple of good plain-English descriptions of the statute of limitations with state-by-state listings:

A more lawyerly state-by-state list: http://www.fair-debt-collection.com/statue-limitations.html


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