In the News

Estate Planning Alert: Section 2704 Proposes Limiting Valuation Discounts

The IRS released much anticipated proposed regulation under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code on August 2nd, 2016, which if finalized, would greatly limit the use of valuation discounts when transferring interests in many types of family owned entities. This proposal was first indicated in May of 2015.  These proposed regulations would make very significant changes to the valuation of interests in family limited partnerships and other family controlled entities for estate, gift and generation skipping transfer tax purposes. The regulations primarily focus on treating the lapse of voting or liquidation rights as an additional transfer and disregarding certain restrictions on liquidation in determining the fair market value of a transferred interest, which will directly affect valuation discounts.

 The IRS scheduled a public hearing on December 1st, 2016 regarding the proposed regulations. If the regulations are finalized, they will not become effective for at least 30 days. This gives us a window of opportunity to explore how you may be able to utilize this estate planning technique before the regulations are potentially finalized. We at United Asset Strategies, are available to discuss this estate planning technique and the complex new proposed regulations. This planning opportunity may be closing at the end of this year, so please contact United Asset Strategies to learn more.


Social Security Reversed Texting Requirement


On August 15th, 2016 the Social Security Administration reversed its new texting requirements due to a significant number of complaints. The Social Security Administration had implemented an additional step to access My Social Security on their website on July 30th, 2016. The new step required individuals to enter a text-enabled cell phone number that can receive a text to enter one time code or would not be able to access their account. A significant number of Americans lack access to reliable cell phone service and statistics show that 25% of Americans 65 or older do not have cell phones. Many Americans were very upset with this new step and along with Senators, complained to the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration listened and reversed its texting requirements.  “Our aggressive implementation inconvenienced or restricted access to some of our account holders,” said Mark Hinkle, a Social Security Administration spokesman. “We are listening to the public’s concern and are responding by temporarily rolling back this mandate. As before July 30, current account holders will be able to access their secure account using only their username and password.” Text messaging does remain an option for additional security, but no longer required.


Feel free to contact United to get answers to your Social Security questions and learn more about the Social Security planning we offer.


Social Security Administration adding a new step to access My Social Security

Starting in August 2016, Social Security is adding a new step to protect your privacy as a my Social Security user. This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer's personal information must use multifactor authentication.
When you sign in at with your username and password, we will ask you to add your text-enabled cell phone number. The purpose of providing your cell phone number is that, each time you log in to your account with your username and password, we will send you a one-time security code you must also enter to log in successfully to your account.
Each time you sign into your account, you will complete two steps:
*Step 1: Enter your username and password.
*Step 2: Enter the security code we text to your cell phone (cell phone provider's text message and data rates may apply).
The process of using a one-time security code in addition to a username and password is one form of "multifactor authentication," which means we are using more than one method to make sure you are the actual owner of your account.
If you do not have a text-enabled cell phone or you do not wish to provide your cell phone number, you will not be able to access your my Social Security account.
Feel free to contact United about this article or any financial services concern.

New Budget Bill Dramatically Changes Social Security Strategies

Posted on November 3, 2015 by

Social Security options will be limited pursuant to new budget bill likely to be signed by President Obama later this week. The two primary changes will be to restricted applications and file and suspend strategy.

The new budget makes very important changes to these two strategies. Call us to be sure you and your family members do not miss limited window to act.


  • Restricted Application: Use of this strategy will be eliminated since “deemed filing” will extend to age 70. A spouse will not be able to file a restricted application to claim spousal benefit at full retirement age. Deemed filing is the requirement that if you take your retirement benefit and are eligible for spousal, you are forced to take both at once. Social Security effectively only pays the larger of the two benefits, so individuals would be forced to give up one of the benefits. Deemed filing previously ended at full retirement age.
  • File and Suspend: Spousal and children benefits are not payable unless the wage earner is receiving benefits. Spouse will not be able to receive a spousal benefit if wage earner files and suspends. Wage earner must be receiving benefits for spouse to receive spousal benefits.

Effective Dates:

  • Individuals turning age 62 by the end of 2015 can still use the restricted application, but the other spouse will need to be receiving their Social Security benefit.
  • Spouse and children currently receiving benefits due to wage earner filing and suspending will continue to receive benefits. Originally the proposed legislation seemed it would affect everyone, but Bloomberg reported late Wednesday that “the deal was amended so it affects only retirees who file for benefits in the future, and the change wouldn’t go into effect for six months.”
  • These changes will become effective six months after the bill is signed.

Please contact Erin A. Gibbons, Senior Financial Advisor, if you have any questions or require additional information at 516-222-0021.

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