Can I sue a family member for repayment on a loan that was not put in writing?
I lent my cousin money supposedly to pay for medical bills. It was to be paid back by money they had put away from an inheritance. So they had the money but it would take 3 months to get it so they needed the money right away. I am still waiting a year later. I have been given various excuses but no money. In November they promised to send me something every month until they got the money. I have never received anything. They will not take my calls or answer my e-mails. Do I have any recourse? They didn't sign anything, but I have all the emails asking for the money and payback terms.
1) Verbal contracts--and a promissory note or loan is basically a contract--are enforceable. Also, a written contract can sometimes be shown by a collection of writing or correspondence, but only if its two side (from both parties)--one party cannot bind another by sending emails that the other does not respond to or show agreement with, for example.
However, notwithstanding the above, there are two other problems:
2) Under what's known as the "statute of frauds," contracts (or loans) which will take more than 1 year to fulfill have to be in writing; also, often, contracts for greater than a certain dollar amount have to be in writing. It may be the case that your particular loan is only enforceable if in writing
3) Even if the loan is legally enforceable, proving a verbal loan can be very difficult if the other party disputes your recollection of the terms or events.
Assuming it's more than a few hundred dollars, you should consult with an attorney, bringing with you all documentation, notes, correspondence, evidence, so the attorney can evaluate the specifics of your case and let you know what your options may be. Good luck.