Dear ABC News Fixer: Just Married, Just Ran Into Joint Banking Problems

Dear Estela: Here are tips for better banking for newlywed military couples.

Oct. 29, 2013 — -- Dear ABC New Fixer: My son is serving our country in Kuwait. He left on Oct. 5. He and his newlywed wife were given less than one month to prepare.

She was left with the responsibility to pay the bills and be his support and strength here at home. On Oct. 15, she went to Union Bank to show them her power of attorney document to get access to their funds and pay their bills. The bank employee said her document didn't have a notary seal, so they could not accept it.

That night, she found the correct document that was notarized and took it to the bank the next day. They told her my son's signature does not match. (He had opened the account when he was in high school.) They treated her like she forged the documents.

She showed them their marriage license, documents showing deployments and other documents with his signature. I, as his mom, called the corporate office's customer service; they suggested my daughter-in-law try another branch. She did, but they wouldn't give her access because the other branch had made notes of these issues.

- Estela Moreno, Running Springs, Calif.

Dear Estela: By the time we got this letter, your new daughter-in-law was so frustrated she was ready to switch her hubby's direct deposit to another bank. We can only imagine how tricky that would be.

We had a little better luck after contacting a senior VP at Union Bank in Los Angeles and explaining what happened. They were able to clear up the misunderstanding and get the local branch to accept the notarized power of attorney document, so now your daughter-in-law is good to go.

As for how to prevent this: We get the whole individual bank account thing – newlyweds often keep their original accounts for a while before plunging forward with a joint checking account. But military spouses should make sure both names are on such accounts because you never know when duty may call.

Here's some more advice for all new military spouses:

Research the tax breaks and benefits available to service members. For example, the Thrift Savings Plan is a low-cost way to save for retirement and lower your taxable income. For more info, CLICK HERE.

The Savings Deposit Program lets personnel deployed to designated combat zones and receiving hostile fire pay get 10 percent annual interest on up to $10,000 in savings. For details, CLICK HERE.

Stay on top of all financial matters, including reviewing the beneficiary info on life insurance policies and drawing up wills and power of attorney documents.

Be sure to check out which businesses offer military discounts. You deserve them. There's one resource for you at

- The ABC News Fixer

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

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