California Senator Dianne Feinstein has reportedly given power of attorney to her daughter Katherine in dealing with an ongoing legal dispute, prompting questions about the 90-year-old senator’s wellbeing, CBS News reported.
The younger Feinstein last month filed suit against the trust of her mother’s late husband, investor Richard Blum. In a legal filing in the suit, obtained by Insider, Katherine Feinstein, a former judge in San Francisco, listed herself as the “attorney in fact” for Senator Feinstein.
As the “attorney in fact,” Katherine Feinstein is allowed to bring the lawsuit on behalf of her mother.
Giving power of attorney to another person is often used to accomplish certain financial or legal transactions, CBS News reported. However, how far Katherine Feinstein’s power of attorney over her mother’s affairs extends is unclear.
Providing power of attorney to another is not uncommon and is not only granted when an individual is no longer capable of making decisions.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the lawsuit filed last month involves a family dispute over the senator’s beach house. Senator Feinstein wants to sell the home but the sale is opposed by the children of Richard Blum.
A spokesman for the California senator declined to comment on the lawsuit saying it would not be appropriate for Feinstein’s senate office to “comment on a private legal matter.”
But in the case of Senator Feinstein, the revelation that her daughter has power of attorney in the suit has raised alarm bells given the state of the senator’s mental and physical health.
Attorney Ashwani Prabhakar, who specializes in trusts and estates, told CBS News that given Senator Feinstein’s mental decline and physical frailty, he can understand why people might be worried by the news that her daughter has power of attorney over her.
At the same time, Prabhakar suggested that Katherine Feinstein’s power of attorney may only give her the authority to act on her mother’s behalf in legal matters, including retaining, instructing, and paying lawyers to represent the senator in court.