The statute of limitations that regulates how long creditors can sue to collect old debts varies by state, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Most states have statutes of limitation that lasts three to six years, although some states allow creditor lawsuits for as long as 10 years.
The statute of limitations begins its countdown when a debtor misses a payment, notes the FTC. If a debtor fails to pay for several years and then makes a partial debt payment, the limitation period begins again. Even if the statute of limitations expires and prevents a lawsuit, creditors still can call debtors and attempt to collect the debts.