Creditors only have a limited amount of time to collect debt, called the statute of limitations. In a lot of states, after six years, you don’t have to pay. But there are a lot of ways creditors get around this. First, they can sue you. If you get sued, that resets the collection period and may extend it. Second, the time only starts from when the debt is in default. Creditors will renew the default calculation if you make a payment or agree to payments. Third, in most states, the creditor can still collect the debt unless you assert in court that they have waited too long. They can still sue you, and if you don’t claim they can’t, the lawsuit continues.
The United States Supreme Court considered this recently. Creditors will even come into bankruptcy court to collect money that has passed the period to collect, or statute of limitations. We will soon see if the statute of limitations applies in bankruptcy court when you cannot claim they cannot collect. Read about it here Creditor Debt Expiration, old debt statute of limitations. In the meantime, watch out for creditors trying to collect old debt.

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