How to Enforce a Promissory Note

As the beneficiary of a promissory note, be prepared to enforce the contract when the payment obligation is due. In some cases, an individual with an outstanding obligation through a promissory note does not satisfy the debt in a timely manner. Keep in mind that enforcing a promissory note can be challenging if the person obligated under the contract fails to comply initially with the payment requirement.

Review the promissory note to ensure that the obligation is due and owing.

Draft a demand letter to the person who signed the promissory note. Through the communication, set forth the payment requirements included in the promissory note itself. Because the debt under the promissory note is mature, demand immediate payment in your letter.

Deliver the demand letter to the person obligated through the promissory note. Consider either hand-delivering the letter to him or send it via U.S. Mail, return receipt requested. Ultimately, you may need to document that you made demand for payment of the promissory note.

Write and send a follow up letter to the person who signed the promissory note if you do not receive a payment or reach some sort of settlement within a couple of weeks after sending your initial communication. Provide him with a set amount of time---one week, for example---to make full payment for the promissory note or you will file suit.

Obtain from the appropriate court a form petition to use in filing suit to obtain what is due under the promissory note. Depending on the dollar amount at issue, the suit is brought either in small claims court or the regular civil court. The amount that is claimed in small claims court varies from state to state. The clerk of the court maintains information to assist you in filing in the proper court.

Complete the petition.

File the petition with the clerk of the court, commencing your small claims or civil suit against the person obligated to you through the promissory note.


Be proactive. Do not let time lapse in enforcing what is due to you through a promissory note.


If the promissory note in question is for an amount over £650, consider hiring an attorney to assist you with collection. An attorney will charge a percentage of money reclaimed.

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Things Needed

  • Promissory note
  • Demand letter
  • Petition in civil or small claims court

About the Author

Mike Broemmel began writing in 1982. He is an author/lecturer with two novels on the market internationally, "The Shadow Cast" and "The Miller Moth." Broemmel served on the staff of the White House Office of Media Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science from Benedictine College and a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University. He also attended Brunel University, London.

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