Montana's statute of limitations protects residents from being sued for debts which are too old to be collected fairly. If a creditor or lender doesn't file a lawsuit within a certain period of time, they'll never be able to collect the debt. Montana has some of the longest statutes of limitation in the nation, providing creditors with between 3 to 10 years to collect, depending on the type of debt.
Limitation on Written Debts, 8 Years
If a person was required to review a contract or sign a document in Montana before purchasing an item or receiving a service, the creditor has 8 years from the time the debt becomes delinquent to file a lawsuit. Many types of debt fall into this category, including most loan or payment agreements. The statute of limitations begins when the account becomes delinquent and restarts every time a payment is made.
Limitation on Credit Card Debts, 5 Years
Even though most credit cards come with a written agreement, Montana uses a different statute of limitations for credit card debt. In 1993, the Montana Supreme Court decided that credit card debt should be treated like delinquent open accounts, rather than written contracts. Accordingly, the statute of limitations for credit card debt is 5 years.
Limitation on Oral Debts, 5 Years
Occasionally, people make promises to buy items or perform services without written contracts. Such oral promises are still enforceable, according to Montana law. If a contract or agreement was made without an accompanying document, the creditor has 5 years to file a lawsuit and enforce the debt. If the debt is not a contract, but was an oral promise or obligation, the creditor may only have 3 years to file a lawsuit.
Limitation on Court Judgments, 10 Years
If a Montana court orders a person to pay money as a result of a legal judgment or verdict, person who is owed money has 10 years to collect. For example, if a person loses a car accident case and is ordered to pay $10,000 to the person he hit, that person must try to collect the judgment before Montana's 10 year statute of limitations expires. Otherwise, the judgment will be unenforceable.