It doesn't really matter. he signed a contract. Hence by signing the contract HE made himself liable.
Hey, thanks enjay for taking the time out to read my VERY LONG story/posting.
Yes, unfortunately I figured that there wasn't anything that could be done now to help "John" with this debt he willingly took on. I'm not fully sure why he assumed this responsibility and/or accepted the word of his father's relatives that it WAS his responsibility to assume.
Was John legally James' son? Was paternity ever established by a court? Was James married to John's mother when John was born?
Second question (after the fact): If John had refused to take on this financial responsibility and had not accepted (or believed) the counsel provided to him by his father's siblings that it was his financial responsibility as his father's only child, then who WOULD be held responsible for any funeral costs or "body disposal fees" (choosing the cheapest possible costs)?
Then you might be wrong. In some states you can do exactly that.
I'm sure that the first area of "assigned responsibility" for a deceased individual comes from the hospital, should an individual expire while under hospital care/residence. The hospital would require that arrangements be made to have the body removed from their facility as soon as possible. I'm also sure that this body movement/transport must be done by someone licensed or authorized to perform such a task. I don't think they'll let you back up the F150, drop the tailgate, and then simply slide "grandpa" into the pickup bed.
The state would pick up the tab. As such the man would be buried in a pauper's grave.
If no one willingly accepted the responsibility to remove a deceased person from the hospital, then how would the hospital manage this effort. Same question with funeral expenses (or body disposal fees, if you will), what if no one laid claim to the responsibility and/or it's related financial obligations? Can responsibility be legally assigned or mandated to family?
Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.
Attorney-GAL in Ohio.
I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.