Dear Amy: My husband “George” lent our friend “Steve” $60,000.
George died several months after the loan was made.
Steve then ran into some hard times.
He has repaid $30,000, with a commitment to repay the remaining amount.
It’s been two years now, with no mention of making a payment.
Steve is back on his feet and has been able to take several nice vacations. Any suggestions on how to nicely bring up the debt owed?
We have many mutual friends, so I haven’t/can’t discuss this with anyone.
I am on a fixed income and would appreciate the payment and would also like to keep the friendship.
Dear Lender: Keeping the friendship is very much up to the person who owes you money. As it is, your friendship is compromised because you are both avoiding discussing the money he owes your husband’s estate.
Given the large amount owed, I assume you have an agreement on paper.
The way to bring this up is to be straightforward and honest, conveying your positive assumption that this loan will be repaid.
Make sure you have access to bank records, noting the original transaction and the half-repayment.
You should send an email, in order to have a record of your written communication.
I suggest using wording along these lines: “Dear ‘Steve:’ I hope you are well. I’m contacting you regarding the outstanding amount you owe on the loan ‘George’ made to you before he died. According to my records, you have repaid $30,000 of the total $60,000 owed. After granting you extra time to repay this loan, I am now eager to receive the remaining amount within a reasonable time frame.
I value our friendship, just as George did; he was happy to help you when you were in need. Let’s revive this conversation in order to get this matter settled.”
If you don’t receive a reply, or if the reply is not reasonable or acceptable to you, then you should contact your lawyer to pursue it on your behalf.
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