Suit based on credit card default must be filed within four years

Q. Three years ago, a credit card company filed a lawsuit against me. I answered the lawsuit. I heard nothing for almost two years, until I received a notice of hearing on a motion for summary judgment. Isn’t there a four-year statute of limitations for lawsuits? Shouldn’t this case now be dismissed?

A. The statute of limitation is the legal time-period within which a lawsuit must be filed. A lawsuit filed after the statute has run can be dismissed. For credit card lawsuits, the statute of limitations is four years. Based on what you say, the lawsuit was filed well within the statutory time limit. The fact that it has continued for another three years, and it is now more than four years since your default, does not matter. The statute of limitations applies to the date the lawsuit is filed, not when it is finally resolved.


Q. I read that I am not liable if a thief forges my name on one of my checks. When I reported this to my bank, it said I am responsible because I waited too long to report it. Who is right?

A. Actually, both statements are correct. As far as the law is concerned, you have no liability if someone steals your check and forges your name. On the other hand, the law also requires that you promptly report the forgery. Be sure to immediately review your bank statement and report any irregularity to the bank. Many banks have very short time-periods within which forgeries must be reported.

Q. My father recently passed away. I was named executor in his will. My father lived in an apartment and owned very little. I discovered, however, that he did owe a lot of money to a few credit card companies. Now the credit card companies want to be paid. As executor, am I responsible for my father’s debts?

A. The executor is the person in charge of putting the terms of a will into effect. The primary role of the executor is gathering up the assets of the estate and distributing them to the creditors and beneficiaries of the deceased. In the event that the estate does not have sufficient assets to pay the deceased debts, the executor is not responsible. I suggest you contact the creditors and let them know your father has died and that there are no assets in his estate.


Q. I have one of my daughters named as the beneficiary of a CD. I just prepared a will dividing all of my property between my two daughters. Does my will apply to the CD, or do I have to change the named beneficiary?

A. Your will does not affect beneficiaries named in other accounts, such as a CD, IRA or 401k. The daughter named as the beneficiary will be entitled to all of the money in the CD, as well as half of your other assets. If you want your daughters to divide the proceeds of the CD, you need to change the beneficiary designation.