The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Cops, courts and fires

April 3, 2013

Local attorney forced to resign from Indiana Bar

Case involved loans and living trust

ANDERSON, Ind. — An Anderson lawyer has agreed to resign rather than fight a complaint brought against him by the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission in 2011.

In an order published March 21, the Indiana Supreme Court accepted the immediate resignation of long-time Madison County attorney Robert W. Miller.

Action was taken against Miller because of work he performed involving a revokable living trust for a client in 2004 and 2005, according to a complaint filed by the disciplinary commission.

Miller amended the trust so he would receive the client’s residence and all personal property after death, according to the commission.

In addition, on two occasions, once in 2004 and again in 2005, Miller borrowed $2,000 from the client, the commission said in a verified complaint for disciplinary action. The way these matters were handled violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, the commission alleged.

In the case of the loans, Miller did not advise his client to seek independent counsel before making them, or fully disclose terms and obtain written consent. Receiving his client’s house after death, known as a “testamentary gift,” also violated professional conduct rules, according to the commission.

Under rules covering a conflict of interest, “a lawyer shall not solicit any substantial gift from a client, including a testamentary gift, or prepare on behalf of a client an instrument giving the lawyer or a person related to the lawyer any substantial gift unless the lawyer or other recipient of the gift is related to the client.”

Miller’s lawyer, Max Howard, said he couldn’t talk about the case because it involves a disciplinary matter.

Alan Miller, Robert Miller’s son, said Wednesday that the client involved was his father’s next door neighbor for nearly 40 years.

After the client died, Alan Miller said, an agreement was reached with relatives and the estate was settled.

And all that occurred years before the commission took any action against Robert Miller.

Miller added that his father is recovering from hip replacement surgery. Miller said his father, 81, planed to retire anyway, so it didn’t make much sense to fight the disciplinary action.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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