This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
If a future definite time is fixed for the performance of the contract, limitations does not begin to run until such future time is reached.1 Thus under a contract to pay money at a definite time in the future limitations does not begin to run until such time is reached.2 If the law allows days of grace limitations runs from the last day of grace.3 So limitations begins to run against the liability of directors and officers of a corporation for creating indebtedness in excess of the capital stock from the date of the maturity of such debt and not from its creation.4 Limitations runs against a vendor's lien from the maturity of the debt and not from the date of the conveyance.5 Limitations runs against interest coupons from their maturity and not from the maturity of the debt.6 If a contract is to be performed on the happening of some future event, the time of which cannot be determined in advance, limitations does not begin until the happening of such event. Under a subscription to a railroad payable when it is completed 7 or a contract to pay for work when certain land is sold 8 limitations runs from such events. Thus limitations does not run against a debt to be paid on the death of the debtor 9 or on the death of another 10 until such death. So a contract to make a will is not broken until the death of the promisor, and limitations does not run till then11 whether the action is for damages12 or for a reasonable compensation for services rendered under such contract.13 In order that limitations may run from some time in the future, the contract whereby payment is deferred must be enforceable and must be the basis of the action. A agreed orally to adopt B and devise realty to him, and in reliance on such promise B worked for A until B came of age. As the contract was unenforceable by reason of the statute of frauds, B's sole claim was for a reasonable compensation for his services, and hence limitations hegun to run when B stopped rendering such services.14 If performance is to be made at some time in the future hut no time is fixed therefor, a reasonable time is ordinarily presumed to have been intended, and in such cases limitations runs from such reasonable time.15 In analogy to this rule if a debt is payable on the happening of a certain event in the control of the creditor he cannot defer the running of the statute indefinitely by preventing such event from happening. Thus if a note is given payable when the payee shall remove certain liens, he cannot postpone the operation of the statute by omitting to remove such liens.16 If a loan is made and no time of payment is specified, limitations begins to run as soon as the loan is made, since in legal effect such loan is payable at once.17 It is treated like a debt payable on demand.18 So if no time is fixed for payment, the purchase price of realty is due at once and limitations runs from the conveyance.19
1 Richter v. Union Land and Stock Co., 129 Cal. 367; 62 Pac. 39; Pinch v. McCulloch, 72 Minn. 71; 74 N. W. 897.
2 French v. Higgins, 66 N. J. L. 579; 50 Atl. 344.
3 Joergenson v. Joergenson, 28 Wash. 477; 92 Am. St. Rep. 888; 68 Pac. 913.
4 Woolverton v. Taylor, 132 111. 197; 22 Am. St. Rep. 521; 23 N. E. 1007.
5 Poindexter v. Rawlings. 106 Tenn. 97; 82 Am. St. Rep. 869; 59 S. W. 766.
6 Mather v. San Francisco, 115 Fed. 37; 52 C. C. A. 631.
7 McClaine v. Fairchild, 23 Wash. 758; 63 Pac. 517.
8 Thompson v. Orena, 134 Cal. 26; 66 Pac. 24.
9 Stanley's Estate v. Pence, 160 Ind. 636; 66 N. E. 51; rehearing denied, 160 Ind. 645; 67 N. E. 441; Bennett v. Lutz, 119 la. 215; 93 N. W. 288; Davis v. Teachout, 126 Mich. 135; 86 Am. St. Rep. 531; 85 N. W. 475.
10 Perkins v. Siegfried's Admr., 97 Va. 444; 34 S. E. 64.
11 Gullett v. Gullett, 28 Ind. App. 670; 63 N. E. 782; Morrissey v. Morrissey, 180 Mass. 480; 62 N. E. 972; In re Hess, 57 Minn. 282; 59 N. W. 193: Stone v. Todd, 49 N. J. L. 274; 8 Atl. 300; Cann v. Cann, 45 W. Va. 563; 31 S. E. 923; s. c, 40 W. Va. 138; 20 S. E. 910.
12 Manning v. Pippen. 86 Ala. 357; 11 Am. St. Rep. 46; 5 So. 572.
13 Kauss v. Rohner, 172 Pa. St. 481; 51 Am. St. Rep. 762; 33 Atl. lOlfi.
14 Martin v. Martin's Estate, 108
Wis. 284; 81 Am. St. Rep. 895; 84 N. W. 439.
15 Muscatine v. Ry., 79 la. 645; 44 N. W. 909; Cummings v. Stovall, 6 Lea (Tenn.) 679.
16 Barnes v. Hardware Co., 20S Pa. St. 570; 53 Atl. 378.
17 Newhall v. Sherman, 124 Cal. 509; 57 Pac. 387; Teasley v. Bradley, 110 Ga. 497; 78 Am. St. Rep. 113; 35 S. E. 782; Howard v. Church, 51 Mich. 125; 16 N. W. 307; Ervin v. Brooks, 111 N. C. 358; 16 S. E. 240; Caldwell v. Rodman, 5 Jones L. (N. C.) 139.