After receiving questions about how to collect from Josh Powell's siblings, a life-insurance company has asked a judge to decide whether they are entitled to the money.
A life-insurance company has asked a judge to decide whether any of Josh Powell’s relatives are entitled to collect on a $1.5 million policy after he killed himself and his two sons in a Washington house fire last month.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, New York Life said that on Feb. 14, nine days after the deaths, it received inquiries from Powell’s sister Alina and brother Michael about how to make claims on the policy, which included $1 million for Powell and $250,000 for each boy. The company sent them claim forms, but the siblings have not filed them.
The company asked to give the court control of the proceeds payable under Powell’s five-year term policy, as well as a $1 million policy covering his wife, Susan Powell, who disappeared from their Utah home in 2009 and is presumed dead.
The judge would decide who, if anyone, would receive the money from each policy — saving the company from being sued over any decisions it might otherwise make.
Most Read Local Stories
- Big gap between Pfizer, Moderna vaccines seen for preventing COVID hospitalizations
- Wondering why society went off-kilter during the pandemic? It was all predicted in this book
- 2 killed in crash on I-90 after car hydroplaned, officials say
- Seattle-area residents should prepare for wild weather ahead, forecasters say
- Washington state workers are getting exemptions to avoid the COVID-19 vaccine — but will they keep their jobs?
Josh Powell made several changes to his policy in the months before his death — making the beneficiaries his siblings and father rather than his missing wife. Among the company’s questions is whether those changes are valid. Susan Powell may have had a community-property interest in the policy, so it’s not clear that her husband could cancel her as the beneficiary without her consent, the company’s lawyers wrote.
Furthermore, given his suicide, it’s not clear that Powell was legally competent to make those changes when he did so last October and December, the lawyers wrote.
Alina Powell did not immediately return an email seeking comment Wednesday.
Anne Bremner, an attorney for Susan Powell’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, said Wednesday that it was unsettling to learn that so soon after the deaths, Josh Powell’s siblings were inquiring about the life-insurance proceeds. She said she’d be curious to know whether Utah authorities investigating Susan Powell’s disappearance had been aware that Josh Powell canceled her as a beneficiary on his policy — and whether that might suggest he knew she was dead, contrary to his claims that she might have run off with another man.