WELD COUNTY, Colo. — The father of Shanann Watts, the pregnant mother who was killed along with her two young daughters, was appointed the representative of her estate on Thursday.
Shanann Watts died without a will and that complicates who will receive her possessions.
Generally, under Colorado law, the estate goes to the spouse. But Shanann’s husband, Christopher, is in jail for allegedly killing her.
Christopher Watts was arrested on Aug. 15 for three counts of first-degree murder.
Police found his wife’s body in a shallow grave and the bodies of his two young girls submerged in oil on the property where he used to work.
During a Weld County Court telephone hearing, Shannan’s father requested that he be appointed as the personal representative of her estate.
That means he will collect all of her assets, but it doesn’t mean he’ll automatically receive them.
“Once that estate is collected and he’s figured out whether she owed any money or needs to pay any taxes — after that, then he’ll distribute to who is entitled to receive it,” said Dan McKenzie, an attorney with McKenzie Law Firm.
“It’s typically the spouse and that’s probably where the disagreement is going to arise depending on how the criminal prosecution of Mr. Watts goes.”
If Watts is found guilty, Shanann’s father might use a state statute to block him from receiving her possessions.
“He will try and prevent Mr. Watts from getting the property under Colorado Slayer’s Statute, which says you can’t benefit from someone you are guilty of causing the death of,” McKenzie said.
The couple’s Fredrick home is valued at more than $400,000 and is only in Christopher Watts’ name.
During the telephone hearing, Watts did not object to the appointing of his father-in-law as the representative.
McKenzie recommends anyone with assets or children to write a will.