Couple working out their debts

Do You Know The Shelf Life Of Your Debt?

What is the oldest condiment you have in your fridge? Is it still good to eat, or has it expired? If you are like most people, you probably have a bottle of mustard or some salad dressing that should have been tossed out months — if not years — ago! If you try and use it now it isn’t going to taste good, and it might even make you sick, but you keep holding on to it for some reason. 

Old debt has a lot in common with those forgotten bottles in your fridge. At one point in time it was fresh, but after a while it goes bad. At Hanson & Payne LLC, we assist Milwaukee area creditors who are cleaning out their metaphorical fridge; trying to figure out if the debt they hold can still be collected or should be written off. 

Debt Has An Expiration Date

Many Milwaukee area creditors are shocked to find out that debts they hoped to collect have expired. Debts expire after the statute of limitations for collecting them has run. After the statute of limitations has run, the debt is no longer collectable. 

How long it takes debt to expire can vary. Each state sets its own statute of limitations, and different types of debt may be treated differently. Many Wisconsin debts expire after 6 years. 

Does Expired Debt Just Disappear?

Just like that old jar of olives in the back of the fridge, expired debt will continue to sit there until you decide do something about it. You have a few options:

  • You can write the debt off as a loss.
  • You can try to collect it in full, but savvy debtors will know they are no longer legally obligated to pay you. 
  • You can contact the debtor and offer to set up a repayment plan or take a smaller lump sum in exchange for forgiving the debt and getting it off your books. 
  • You can outsource your collections to a reputable collections agency. 
  • You can consult with an attorney like those on the Hanson & Payne team who have experience representing creditors in legal actions against debtors.

Whatever you decide to do, you should consider working with an attorney who can help ensure you are in compliance with both state and federal debt collection laws. If you violate Wisconsin’s law relating to Debt Collection Practices, there are several remedies available to the consumer. 

A Law Firm Serving Creditors In Milwaukee And Beyond 

Old debts can clutter up your books and create a lot of confusion. Figuring out if they are expired, and what if anything you can do to collect them is worth your time. If you are looking for legal representation as you tackle this task, please contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.