Armstrong Financial Strategies
Morris Armstrong founded Armstrong Financial Strategies in 2001 as fee-only firm. The firm does not accept commissions or referral fees and the only source of its income is from the client. Morris has taught at Marymount College in Tarrytown, NY and has written extensively on the subject of investments, taxes and planning for Multex Investors, which Reuters purchased in 2003.
Morris has also been active in the field of divorce planning, and in 2008, the Connecticut Law Tribune recognized his efforts. The lawyers in the state voted him as one of the top three planning firms in the state.
Morris has written for and been quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Planning magazine, Wealth Manager Magazine and Yahoo Finance. His investment philosophy has been shaped by both John Bogle and Eugene Fama, and is his portfolios, which are a blend of passive and active vehicles, reflect this.
While he enjoys divorce planning, it can be draining and he prefers not to work with those couples who believe that “War of the Roses” was a manual for divorce. He enjoys his role as an Enrolled Agent helping people resolve their issues with the IRS, whether it is a notice or something more involved such as an audit or offer in compromise.
BBA, Banking, Pace University
Assets Under Management:
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Good news, life insurance proceeds paid as a death benefit are generally exempt from income tax. There are very few instances where it is taxable and those tend to be business related.
I know from personal experience the issues that you are facing and it was my own divorce which led me to focus on divorce issues in both my planning and divorce practices. I do hope that your divorce is cordial and does not get nasty. Sometimes in the process, it is helpful if you have someone in the mental health arena to help with the emotional anguish that often accompanies the end of a marriage.
What do I ask clients to bring to an initial consult? Nothing - just themselves and to tell me what they are going through and what do they want to accomplish. You will also be asked if there are any nuptial documents in place. If it is a good fit, at subsequent meetings you will be asked for copies of tax returns and lists of assets and liabilities. Much of what will be given to attorneys for the discovery will also be what I require. You will be expected to provide a budget - what do you need to live on. The copier machine will become your friend - you will need 3 years of tax returns, at least 6 months of brokerage statements, bank statements. You will need copies of your spouse's retirement plan and work related benefits.
The "best" settlement is going to be determined by your lawyer, his lawyer and the judge. What I can do, is make sure that you understand the impact of the settlement and how it will impact you. The advisor should be the one to work with you and your lawyer and if needed, handle much of the non-legal paperwork. If you develop a nice working relationship with the advisor then they can continue post-divorce.
Again, the initial consult is really just a getting to know each other meeting and there is no need to have much documentation. Always remember though, once engaged, you need to be 100 percent up-front with everything.
I am sorry for what you are going through, but life does go on - stay strong and healthy.
My understanding of the scenario is that you have a home and have lived there, in the basement, while your daughter lived in the house, sometimes paying rent, sometimes not. Now, you sold the house to your son for a price greater than 80K.
If my understanding is correct then allow me to ask - in all the years that your daughter lived in the home did you ever file a Schedule E?
When you were using the workshop did you take any tax benefits?
Who held title to the home at the time of sale? If you lived there for 730 days out of the preceding 1826 then you may have a capital gains exclusion. If you are married and both you and your wife owned and lived there, meeting the time requirements, you may exclude 500K. If you are a widower, and the house was jointly owned, then you would have a step up in basis based on the date of death, for either 50 percent or 100 percent if in a community property state.
There are a lot of scenarios and you may want to discuss it with a qualified tax professional to see how it has impacted your tax return.
The 10% penalty is imposed by the federal government and if the annuity is within a qualified plan, you should be exempt from that. However, keep in mind that there may be penalties imposed by the insurance company that issued the annuity. I suggest that you speak with them.
It would not fall under the 1031 rules because you own the other properties already - there is no acquisition being made. Furthermore, self-dealing usually disqualifies many strategies.