Maggie Murdaugh, the wife of embattled South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, left her property to him in her will before she and their son were mysteriously killed in June, according to a copy of her last will and testament.
Her husband, Alex Murdaugh, 53, has faced months of public scrutiny since his wife, 52, and their son Paul Murdaugh, 22, were found shot multiple times on June 7 at the family’s home in rural Islandton, South Carolina, about 65 miles west of Charleston.
Since then, Alex Murdaugh has been at the center of a storm of allegations — including accusations that he misused money from his law firm — which led to the suspension of his law license. He also enlisted a hit man to kill him so his surviving son, Buster, could cash in on his $10 million life insurance policy, one of his attorneys said.
The deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh remain unsolved.
Maggie Murdaugh signed the will in August 2005, according to a report Sunday in The Island Packet newspaper of Hilton Head. The newspaper was the first to report the document, which was later obtained by NBC News.
At the time, the couple's sons were children.
In the will, Maggie Murdaugh listed her sister, Marian Proctor, as the person to handle the estate. Proctor's name was crossed out in pen and Randolph Murdaugh III, Maggie Murdaugh’s father-in law, was handwritten above it. Randolph Murdaugh III died three days after Maggie and Paul Murdaugh’s deaths after he fell ill, his law firm announced at the time.
Jim Griffin, an attorney for Alex Murdaugh, said it's not clear why Proctor's name was crossed out and replaced, but he told The Island Packet that he didn’t believe the will was motive for Alex Murdaugh to be involved in his wife's death.
Alex Murdaugh's attorneys didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Dec. 9, Colleton County Probate Judge Ashley Amundson appointed John Marvin Murdaugh, Alex’s brother, as the personal representative for Maggie Murdaugh’s estate, records show. He signed an affidavit accepting the appointment Dec. 13.
Marian Proctor filed an affidavit, dated Dec. 9, in Colleton County Probate Court, according to The Island Packet. In the affidavit, Proctor renounced her right to handle her sister’s estate and said she didn’t receive any money in relinquishing her right to handle it.
Asked about the scratched-out name in the will, John Marvin Murdaugh said Tuesday: "I can’t tell you why she would have done that. I just don’t know."
He said that he was told by some of Maggie Murdaugh's immediate family members that the writing is hers and that he believes she made the change during her lifetime.
He said his family and the Proctors are all communicating on good terms.
“Marian was like, ‘No, John, I want you to handle it.’ So I’m going to do whatever the court asked me to do, and I’m also going to do what I think is best for Maggie," John Marvin Murdaugh said.
Alex Murdaugh's attorneys said in October that authorities were looking at him as a person of interest in the deaths of his wife and their son. He has maintained his innocence, and his lawyers said he has an alibi, as he was caring for his mother, who has dementia, the night of the killings.
Alex Murdaugh is in jail on a slew of charges, most of them financial counts.
He faces charges in connection with a Sept. 4 suicide-for-hire plot. He called police to say that he had been shot in the head and that he had suffered a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or SLED, said at the time.
His attorney, Richard Harpootlian, previously said on NBC’s “TODAY” show that Alex Murdaugh arranged for a man to kill him during a “fake car breakdown.” He said he believed his insurance policy had a suicide clause, which would leave $10 million for his son, according to Harpootlian.
Murdaugh submitted his resignation at his law firm to enter rehab the day before he is alleged to have tried to fake his own death. The law firm said later that he resigned only after it was discovered that he was alleged to have misappropriated funds from the firm. State law enforcement officials also announced that they were looking into those allegations.
He has been in jail since Oct. 14 and then was arrested on charges of obtaining property by false pretenses, in which he is accused of misappropriating settlement funds from the sons of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaughs’ longtime housekeeper and nanny.
She died in February 2018 in what was initially described as an accidental fall.
Her sons claim that they received none of the proceeds from a $4.3 million settlement that was orchestrated secretly by Alex Murdaugh, according to a lawsuit filed against their mother’s employer and others. State investigators allege that about $3.4 million was stolen after legal fees were paid.
On Dec. 13. a judge set Murdaugh's bail at $7 million.
Attorneys said at the bond hearing that they were nearing a resolution with Alex Murdaugh and that he had agreed to a $4.3 million judgment, subject to the approval of court-appointed receivers who now control his assets, The Associated Press reported.