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Court of Appeals upholds Miller estate decision

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has sided with former Columbus, Ind., banker Will Miller in an estate battle launched by his older brother, Hugh.

In an opinion issued Thursday, Power of Attorney of Xenia S. Miller, et al. v. William Irwin Miller and Sarla Kals, No. 03A01-0912-CV-586, the court said Will Miller was correct to spend more than $20 million over 3-1/2 years on the upkeep of properties owned by the wealthy Columbus family.

The brothers are heirs to a fortune built over generations through the defunct Irwin Union Bank and Trust and diesel engine-maker Cummins Inc. Their parents, J. Irwin and Xenia Miller, were major philanthropists, noted for bringing world-reknowned modern art and architecture to their hometown.

The court's opinion led off with a quote from "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare: "What's past is prologue..." The line speaks to the question of whether Will and family financial adviser Sarla Kalsi, as Xenia's personal representatives, properly interpreted her wishes. Xenia was incompetent when J. Irwin died in 2004, but Will and Kalsi continued to spend huge sums on the upkeep of family properties, which they argued was in keeping with the Millers' long-established practice.

Hugh Miller contested the estate's spending in Bartholomew Superior Court. He argued that $2.7 million of the spending was more to the benefit of Will and Kalsi than Xenia, who died in 2008. The lower court sided with Will Miller, going so far as to grant payment of his attorney fees. Hugh appealed.

Although it upheld the lower court's ruling on the estate spending, the appellate court reversed the decision on attorney fees, saying Hugh's claim was not frivolous.
 

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  3. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  4. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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