News & Resources

Keeping you informed is part of our mission.

Life insurance payouts and slayer statutes add to family’s burden p5

Wed Jun 11th, 2014 on     Insurance Claims,    

Charles and Judy Cox must have mixed emotions as December 6 nears. That Saturday will mark the fifth anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance. It will also mark the end of that terrible waiting period that families must endure between a disappearance and an official declaration of death. The Coxes’ daughter, Susan Powell, may or may not have been murdered by her husband in 2009, and the state will finally acknowledge what so many have believed for a long time: She is not coming back.

The state’s declaration will relieve Charles Cox of his duties as conservator. It will also trigger the payout from her life insurance policy — perhaps the only clear-cut insurance matter in the case. Because her husband Josh killed himself and the couple’s two children after Susan’s disappearance, the parties and, finally, the court have had to untangle a number of issues about life insurance policy beneficiaries.

The court has ruled that one of Josh’s life insurance policies and two riders to that policy covering the children will be divided evenly between Josh’s family and Susan’s conservator. Josh had changed the beneficiaries a number of times during the last months of his life, but he had not made any changes to a second policy. That policy named Susan as the primary beneficiary.

And that is where the fifth anniversary of Susan’s disappearance came into play. In most cases, the law cannot tolerate uncertainty, and that meant Susan was either alive or dead as far as the insurance companies were concerned.

We’ll finish this up in our next post.

Source: Deseret News, “Judge orders Josh Powell life insurance money be split 50-50,” Pat Reavy, May 19, 2014

Super Lawyers
Florida Legal Elite
Top Lawyer - South Florida Legal Guide
Association of Corporate Counsel - South Florida Chapter
Back to top