FOR SALE: 85-year-old Louise Haberkorn, outside her home in Downer, with her daughter, Petra McManus.

FOR SALE: 85-year-old Louise Haberkorn, outside her home in Downer, with her daughter, Petra McManus. Photo: Graham Tidy

The ACT Government has tens of thousands of dollars of Louise Haberkorn's money, now it wants to sell her house.

The family of the 85-year-old Canberra woman do not know why the family home must be sold or even how much of their mother's money is being held by the ACT's Public Trustee.

But the Public Trustee backed his staff and told The Canberra Times he was confident they were carrying out their duties properly.

The trustee helps to care for Canberrans who are forced by way of illness, accident or disability to give someone else the power of attorney to make decisions on their behalf.

The small office also administers estates of the deceased.

Mrs Haberkorn was a sprightly lady until January 2012 when she had a fall and a medical blunder, during a routine operation at the Canberra Hospital, left her needing full-time care.

Her daughter Petra McManus said the Public Trustee had been in control of Mrs HaberKorn's affairs since soon after the accident and had taken possession of the money won in a medical negligence case against the hospital.

Mrs Haberkorn approached the Trustee in 2011 prior to the accident for help in making her will but inadvertently signed over control of her financial affairs, with the widow’s family only realising what had been done when their mother lay near death in the Canberra Hospital two years later.

After legal fees and medical expenses incurred so far, the family calculate there should be up to $70,000 available to pay for their mother's continuing care at the Calvary Retirement Community.

But it is difficult to know how much money their mother has when the Trustee will not tell them and Mrs McManus said she was shocked and angry when the Trustee's office said a real estate agent would be around to Mrs Haberkorn's Antill Street home, to size it up for sale.

“Mum is in high care which means that she has around five years before the sale of her family home may be required,” Mrs McManus said.

“The house sale is entirely the Public Trustee's idea because it is easier for them to have cash money in their accounts than bother with a run-down house to care for.”

The office is under a corruption cloud with police investigating allegations that two senior staff had embezzled up to $1.5 million of clients' money over several years.

The investigation, which is still underway, has nothing to do with Mrs Haberkorn's affairs.

The Trustee, Andrew Taylor, said this week that he could not discuss the elderly woman's finiancal matters because of privacy rules but said he was confident his staff were acting in accordance with their obligations under the Powers of Attorney.

“I am satisfied that my office is operating in strict compliance with the requirements and principles contained in the Act and in accordance with Mrs Haberkorn's wishes as principal,” Mr Taylor said.

“I trust that you will appreciate and respect our responsibility to act in accordance with that Act, Mrs Haberkorn's best interests and her stated wishes in the Enduring Power of Attorney deed executed by her.”