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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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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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