Utah judge sides with Susan Powell's parents in $2.3 million estate fight

SEATTLE -- A Utah judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of missing mom Susan Cox Powell's parents in an estate dispute, saying the heirs of Susan's husband, Josh Powell, waited too long to challenge changes to the legal trust, attorney Anne Bremner confirmed.

The news was first reported by The Salt Lake Tribune (see story here).

The ruling by Utah 3rd District Court Judge L.A. Dever means the mother and sister of Josh Powell will be unable to receive the assets in Josh and Susan Powell's trust when Susan is declared dead.

The trust includes $2.3 million in life insurance awards and the couple's home in West Valley City, Utah.

The Salt Lake Tribune said Terrica and Alina Powell -- Josh Powell's mom and sister -- are likely to appeal the ruling.

According to the newspaper, the judge said Susan's father, Chuck Cox, should have never been put in charge of the estate in January 2013 and that he did not have authority to remove the Powell family as beneficiaries. However, Dever said the Powell family had 30 days to challenge his appointment and they did not challenge it in time.

Susan Cox Powell was last seen Dec. 6, 2009, at her West Valley City, Utah, home. Her husband Josh was the only person of interest in her disappearance; he killed their two children and himself on Feb. 5, 2012, at their home in Graham, Wash.

The newspaper said Susan Powell will probably be declared dead in December, as Utah law allows for a person to be declared dead five years after anyone last saw the person alive.