Aging US Senator Hands Power of Attorney to Daughter

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
August 8, 2023Politics

Dianne Feinstein, one of the oldest U.S. senators, has given her daughter power of attorney, according to court filings.

Katherine Feinstein, the daughter of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), 90, said she had become the senator’s “attorney in fact” in a filing entered in California court and reviewed by The Epoch Times.

The filing was part of one of the cases Katherine Feinstein has lodged on behalf of her mother to try to settle a family dispute over how funds are dispersed following the death of Sen. Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum. Another case said that trustees have failed to distribute funds to reimburse Sen. Feinstein’s medical expenses.

Sen. Feinstein also resigned as a co-trustee of a joint trust she shared with Mr. Blum, according to documents submitted to the court.

“This is a private legal matter. Senator Feinstein and her office won’t have any comment,” a spokesperson for the senator told news outlets. Ms. Feinstein did not respond to a request for comment.

Sen. Feinstein is the oldest senator and has already pledged not to run for reelection in 2024. Some constituents and other California residents have called for her to step down before her term ends due to her health issues.

Sen. Feinstein returned to Washington in May for the first time in months after being hospitalized with what staffers said was shingles. She has been in a wheelchair.

Sen. Feinstein claimed that she had not been gone from the Capitol, appearing to suffer a memory lapse, and has been increasingly guided by aides as she navigates congressional business.

Questions on Process

Ms. Feinstein filed the claims against Michael Klein, who became co-trustee of the joint Feinstein and Blum trust, which establishes what takes place when either partner dies.

After Mr. Blum died on Feb. 7, 2022, some money was supposed to go into a separate trust for Sen. Feinstein, but that trust has not been funded at all, Ms. Feinstein alleges.

She has asked Mr. Klein to allow the sale of a property in Stinson Beach to fund the trust, but he has so far declined to move on that request, according to documents submitted to the court. Ms. Feinstein believes that Mr. Blum’s daughters want to keep using the property in question and that they would like to prevent its sale to “decrease the yearly distributions to Senator Feinstein and increase the value of their inheritance at Senator Feinstein’s death.”

The property is worth an estimated $3.2 million, though other homes in the area have sold for more in recent years.

Ms. Feinstein asked the court to force the co-trustees to sell the property and transfer a part of the proceeds to the trust for Sen. Feinstein.

In the other case, lawyers for Sen. Feinstein and Ms. Feinstein said that the senator “has incurred significant medical expenses” and has asked for reimbursement from funds from Mr. Blum’s life insurance proceeds, but that the reimbursement has not yet been paid. They said that the court should name Ms. Feinstein as the person who controls the trust, alleging the trustees were improperly appointed.

“The purported trustees have refused to make distributions to reimburse Sen. Feinstein’s medical expenses,” a filing stated.

The trusts contain a fraction of Sen. Feinstein’s net worth, which is estimated at up to $120,850,011.

Steven P. Braccini, an attorney representing Mr. Klein, told The Epoch Times via email that the trust has not denied any disbursements to the senator.

“We have not been presented with any evidence showing that Katherine Feinstein has power of attorney for her mother; nor has Katherine made it clear … why a sitting United States senator would require someone to have power of attorney over her,” Mr. Braccini said. “While my clients are deeply concerned, we all remain hopeful that this is simply a misunderstanding that can be quickly resolved, rather than a stepdaughter engaging in some kind of misguided attempt to gain control over trust assets to which she is not entitled.”

Different Possibilities

One lawyer told the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the news, that there are different versions of powers of attorney.

One type is when the person becomes incapacitated and cannot read documents or sign them. Loren Barr, the attorney, said.

“The other time it’s done is somebody is old and tired and doesn’t have the energy to travel if they’re out of town,” Mr. Barr said. “There are general powers of attorney that have almost everything in it. But then there are also limited powers of attorney that are used for a particular purpose. So when my friend moved to England, and wanted to sell his house out here in the East Bay, he gave me a power to sell the house.”

From The Epoch Times

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