If you find yourself in the position of needing to sue someone, and this is normally the case when you’re trying to recover money that has been loaned, there is a process involved. Here’s what you should do:

  • Get legal advice. If you can afford it, get more than legal advice. Get a lawyer to help you through the process. It is the case when someone receives a lawyer’s letter there is a need to respond. If correspondence arrives from you, it is likely to be neglected.

  • Do you have proof of the loan in question in writing? This is a first-step process when loaning money, even if you have known the person for a long time. Humans behave strangely, that’s a given, so even if you trust the person completely, get everything in writing. However, even if there is no written proof, there should be EFT transactions, bank statements and the like to prove that something of note has occurred between you and the borrower.
  • The lawyer will in the first instance provide a formal letter of demand, and there will be a stipulated date by when the loan must be repaid. The borrower must respond. If not, and the money is not a massive sum, the next port of call will be a summons to the small claims court.
  • If a large amount of money is involved, ordinary court action will result. Either this, or a small claims court action is the process of suing someone.
  • The summons indicating the need to attend court will be issued by the sheriff of the court.
  • If the summons is ignored, your attorney can apply for a default judgment.
  • The debtor will have to defend the action in court in which instance a summary judgment could be applied.
  • The debtor could well settle out of court. That person will be responsible for the legal costs incurred by your lawyer and will probably organise monthly payments to you (plus interest). If there is a default on payment, the remainder of the amount will become immediately payable.
  • Do not decide to follow your own plan in the case of the debtor getting in contact with you and appealing for clemency. This is emotive blackmail. There have been numerous instances where the borrower has discarded any legal advice that may have been obtained and “worked out” a plan with the borrower. This seldom has a successful outcome and the lawyer would have written your case off on top of everything else.

Professional advice is necessary

So, always stick to the professional advice that is given to you. As said earlier, if you can afford to let the lawyer handle everything, then let the lawyer handle everything. This is the best course of action. When you sue someone, it is a serious action that needs professional reaction.

It will involve court response and documents and various processes that must be initiated professionally and followed through to allow for the correct legal action to be instituted. If the exact procedure is not adhered to any way, things could start swinging the way of the debtor.

Ensure you are using a competent, recognised legal professional that knows exactly what to do, even if this person does cost more. In the end it’s always worth it. You get what you pay for. Remember that.

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