Will Josh Powell's family argue he killed wife so they can collect life insurance?

Published: Friday, April 11 2014 5:00 p.m. MDT

But depending on the outcome of the conservatorship case, Cox's attorneys claim Terrica and Alina Powell may argue that Susan Powell's death happened earlier.

"Terrica Powell may seek to bring an action under the Utah Presumption of Death Statute, based upon available evidence, to establish a date of death earlier than Dec. 6, 2014," according to court documents.

"Ultimately, any attempt to prove Susan died on a date earlier than Dec. 6, 2014, would result in the equivalent of a lengthy and expensive murder trial. It would require the Powell family to prosecute their own and would have significant implications on the administration of the estate and its assets. Unless Susan’s whereabouts are determined before Dec. 6, 2014, she will be presumed deceased on that date," Cox's attorneys wrote in court papers.

Lee, however, said his clients seeking to prove Susan Powell died earlier than 2014 in no way implies they believe she was murdered by Josh Powell.

"They simply said, depending on how things turn out, they want to keep their options open to try and prove an earlier date of death for Susan," he said. "What (Cox's attorneys) filed in court here was actually a misstatement of what they filed in Washington."

The Powells claim that after Josh Powell's death, his estate went to Michael Powell. But Susan Powell must consent to the change in beneficiary, and because she's missing, no one can say if that happened. Because she was legally considered missing and not dead, the Powells claim there is no need for Cox to be appointed as conservator.

Alina Powell has long been one of Josh Powell's biggest supporters. She suggested at one point that Susan Powell ran off with missing Utahn Steve Koecher.

Jennifer Graves, Josh and Alina Powell's sister who has been estranged from her family since Susan Powell's disappearance, believes what is at stake is who is in line to receive the insurance money. The policy, according to her, currently lists brother Michael Powell as the main benefactor, followed by Chuck Cox.

"Michael committed suicide, so he's off. That is not an inheritable position. So it's back to Chuck. It legally goes back to Chuck," Graves said. "It disappoints me that (Alina and Terrica) are continuing to pursue this. That's the biggest thing. It's not really appropriate for them to pursue this."

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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