Knowledge. Trust. Relationships.

The Forrest Group, LLC provides estate planning in Houston, Texas, that primarily focuses on privately held business owners, high net worth individuals, and affluent families. Our firm specializes in wealth transfer and business succession planning. We address problems common to the transfer of wealth, lifestyles and financial security to future generations.

Trusted Advisors

Business Owners

High Net Worth Individuals

Trusted Advisors

Most of your clients have life insurance. With the attrition rate in the life insurance industry being so high, there is a strong probability that the life insurance policy that your client has deployed is not being effectively monitored. We can help you review their existing coverage and give insight as to how the policy will perform and if any adjustments should be undertaken.

Business Owners

We are going to help you think about how you want your business to flow downstream. Do you want your children to inherit your business? Would you prefer to sell to a third party? Are there employees you trust to carry on the business that you can sell to? We will help you think through these issues and assist in determining the right solution that most effectively accomplishes your objective.

High Net Worth Individuals

For people who have been blessed with significant resources, cascading their wealth downstream can be a complicated matter. We will help you think through all the issues, both positive and negative, and assist in the deployment of a plan that is most reflective of your objectives. All of this, with a keen eye towards your legacy and your philanthropic desires.

Gib's Story

Our objective at The Forrest Group is to help our clients:

  • Pass on their hard earned assets (including their businesses) to their desired heirs in a manner that enables them to leave the legacy intended.
  • Protect their assets from excessive tax burdens and potential undesirable future creditors.
  • Ensure that the client’s desires for charitable giving are crystallized and enabled to be continued for future generations.

Please watch the video to the left to learn how and why Gib got started in the business.

Right Quotation

A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…

Right Quotation

Proverbs 13:22

Meet Our Team

Photo of Silas Parker

Gib Surles, CLU®, ChFC®, CFP®, AEP®, MSFS

Principal and Founder

Read About Gib

Photo of Melissa K. Dyches

Melissa K. Dyches, LSA

Director of Operations & Policy Services Manager


Read About Melissa

Photo of Kim Wittmeyer

Marilyn T. Daniel

Financial Officer


Read About Marilyn

Photo of Gib Surles

Gib Surles, CLU®, ChFC®, CFP®, AEP®, MSFS

Principal and Founder

Gib is principal and founder of The Forrest Group, L.L.C., which was formed in 1995. With over 30 years of experience, he is passionate about the life insurance industry and the value with which it can bring to families and business owners, ensuring that their legacies are passed on to future generations.

Gib graduated from Texas A&M University in 1985 with a B.B.A in Marketing and quickly started his lifelong career with the New York Life Insurance Company. With an intense focus on always increasing his skillset and bringing a higher value to his clients, Gib upholds his dedication to continuing education. He received his Masters of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) from The American College in 2001. He was awarded the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) in 1996, Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) in 1997, Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) in 1997, and AEP® in 1999.

Gib is honored to be a leader in the industry, holding positions on both a local and national level.

  • Finseca (formerly The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting); Past President 2011-2012
  • New York Life Insurance Company’s Agents Advisory Council (AAC); Past President 2017
  • Life Happens (formerly The Life Foundation); Past Board Member 2015-2016
  • The Nautilus Group®; Current Board Member
  • NYLARC Holding Company, Inc; Current Board Member
  • The Houston Business and Estate Planning Council; Vice President
  • NAIFA Houston; Past Board Member 2019-2020
  • The Society of Financial Service Professionals - Houston Chapter; Past President 2002-2003
  • The Houston Estate and Financial Forum; Past President 2012-2013

As a life and qualifying member of The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)*, Gib has earned both Court of the Table and Top of the Table statuses. He is the 2011 recipient of the Benjamin “Woody” Woodson Award for outstanding service in the community and the industry, and is the 2013 recipient of the NAIFA Houston John N. Neighbors Award.

Gib and his wife, Lauri, are the proud parents of one son, Forrest, and two twin daughters, Amy and Autumn, who have all three carried on the family legacy of graduating from Texas A&M University. Gib is an active member and serves on the Vestry of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, TX. Being an avid hunter, he is a loyal supporter of the Hunters for the Hungry.

CA Insurance License #0F71305

*The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals, is recognized globally as the standard of excellence for life insurance sales performance in the insurance and financial services industry.

My Community Involvement

AALU: Leadership for Advanced Life Underwriting®

Mr. Surles was the Past President (served from 2011 to 2012) of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU). AALU was founded in 1957 and today has over 2,000 members. Their mission is to preserve, promote and protect the planning of advanced life insurance.

New York Life Agents Advisory Council

Mr. Surles is the Past President (2017) of the New York Life Agents Advisory Council. The AAC is a group of 24 New York Life agents that have meet a certain level of success called Council level. AAC members are elected by thousands of fellow New York Life Council-level agents. They meet two times a year to discuss with the company’s management any issues that they are presented with.

Society of FSP Houston

Mr. Surles was the Past President (served from 2002-2003) of the Houston Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP). SFSP has been around for over 75 years and has 20,000 members nation wide. All members go by a code of conduct that allows them to better serve their clients needs.

The Houston Estate & Financial Forum

Mr. Surles was the Past President (served from 2012 to 2013) of the Houston Estate and Financial Forum (HEFF). HEFF started in 1960. The organization provides its members with the means to expand their knowledge and skills in the field of estate planning.

 Houston Business & Estate Planning Council Logo

Mr. Surles currently serves as a Board Member on the Houston Business & Estate Planning Council. The organization was founded in 1982. They provide their members with resources that will allow them to grow and become more involved with other financial professionals in the area.

National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) Logo

Mr. Surles is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) in Houston. Members are not only financial professionals, they are also leaders in their local communities, charities, and organizations. NAIFA was founded in 1890 and is one of the nation's oldest associations that represents insurance professionals.

Mr. Surles also received the John N. Neighbor’s Award for his special dedication to NAIFA, the insurance industry, and the community in 2013. The Award was established in 1993 to honor John N. Neighbors, the first Houston member to serve as President of the National Association.

FSP Award Gold

Mr. Surles received the Benjamin N. “Woody” Woodson Award in recognition of meritorious service to the insurance industry and community in 2011. This award was named after the late Woody Woodson, former CEO of American General Life Insurance Company. Woody was a legend in the insurance industry who epitomized the qualities necessary for consideration.


Mr. Surles is a Life and Qualifying Member of The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and also a part of MDRT Top of Table. MDRT Top of Table is only for the world's most successful life insurance professionals. In order to achieve this level, Financial Professionals have to meet all of MDRT's qualifications. MDRT was founded in 1927 and today has over 38,000 financial professionals.

Society of FSP Houston

Mr. Surles serves on the Endowment Board at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, TX.

My Professional Story

Photo of Melissa K. Dyches

Melissa K. Dyches, LSA

Director of Operations & Policy Services Manager

Ms. Dyches started with The Forrest Group in June 2001, and serves as the Director of Operations and Policy Services Manager. She is a Licensed Service Assistant with the New York Life Insurance Company. Melissa works directly with Gib and assists him with the tracking and maintaining of all new and current client relationships. In addition to that, she reviews all incoming applications and assists the client, as well as the carriers, with the underwriting process, making it more efficient for everyone. She maintains direct contact with all clients after the underwriting process is completed, by tending to policy service needs and following up when needed. Outside of the office, Melissa is "mom" to her four dogs and enjoys spending time with her family, reading, cooking and volunteering for many causes close to her heart, specifically animal rescue and pediatric cancer.

Photo of Marilyn T. Daniel

Marilyn T. Daniel

Financial Officer

Mrs. Daniel joined The Forrest Group in 2008 and manages the day-to-day financial operations of the company. She brings 25 years of experience in the areas of human resources, benefits and payroll services. Marilyn is a 1980 graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Management and Quantitative Analysis. Marilyn enjoys cooking and traveling with her husband, B.D., and is most proud of her two greatest accomplishments - her daughter Angela, who is an up and coming attorney here in Houston, and her son Bill, who is a bass player for a nationally recognized jazz funk bank, based in New Orleans, LA.

Exclusive Planning Resource


Right Quotation

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.

Right Quotation

Albert Einstein

Our Strategic Alliances

We are proud to partner with several organizations that provide us with support and resources. These strategic alliances were chosen because they allow us to best meet the needs of our clients, no matter how simple or complex they may be.

Click on the logos below to learn more about each organization.

The Nautilus Group

The Nautilus Group®

  • Estate planning
  • Business planning
  • Insurance strategies
Nautilus Plus

Nautilus Plus

  • Exclusive access to elite professionals
  • Client focused services
  • Specialists in taxes, estate law, and more
  • Proprietary products
New York Life Logo

New York Life

  • Life insurance
  • Fixed annuities
  • Long-term care insurance
Eagle Strategies LLC Logo

Eagle Strategies LLC

  • Fee-based financial planning
  • Investment advisory services
  • Investment management programs

The Nautilus Group®

The Nautilus Group® is an exclusive resource accessible to Member Agents working with affluent, high net worth and business owner clients. Nautilus provides a range of consultative services and technical case design to support its Member Agents in presenting estate, business, charitable, insurance and retirement strategies to their clients and their clients' advisors in these key areas: Family Protection, Estate and Legacy Planning, Business Succession and Exit Planning, Executive Benefits, and Philanthropy.

Since every client has unique requirements, The Nautilus Group® staff and its Member Agents employ an individualized case development strategy, working on a team basis with the clients' professional advisors.

Member Agents of The Nautilus Group®, through their expertise and commitment to this team approach, can provide resources, services and solutions that help their clients work with their own professional advisors to attain clarity on their financial situation and also help achieve their business and estate planning objectives.

This consultative process fosters an understanding between the client, the Nautilus Member Agent, and the client's circle of advisors. Working hand in hand with the Nautilus staff, Member Agents present their clients with state-of-the-art planning strategies and customized case analyses designed to meet the clients' complex objectives. The one-on-one case design process used by Nautilus is tailored to the unique requirements of each client, achieving a better understanding of the complex needs and goals of each individual.

The Nautilus Group® is located in Dallas, TX and is staffed by an elite team of professionals experienced in law, taxation, accounting, business, insurance, finance and philanthropic planning. This team provides dedicated support for Nautilus Member Agents, an elite group of experienced insurance and financial industry leaders, firmly committed to a team planning concept.

The Nautilus Group® is a service of New York Life Insurance Company. Neither The Nautilus Group®, its member agents, nor its staff provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Clients are urged to seek the advice of their own professional advisors before implementing any planning strategies.

Nautilus Plus

Nautilus Plus is a highly selective, elite group of skilled professionals that is limited to the top 30 members of The Nautilus Group®, those who are among the most accomplished in the industry. Membership is by invitation only.

Nautilus Plus members have exclusive and unmatched access to a team of experienced Nautilus Group professionals who provide value added, client focused services, consultation, and support to the members as they serve their clients. Nautilus Plus members work in tandem with the dedicated Nautilus Plus staff to provide informed choices and innovative solutions.

New York Life

Gib Surles and his fellow financial professionals are proud to be affiliated with New York Life Insurance Company. New York Life and its wholly-owned subsidiaries provide life insurance, fixed annuities, and long-term care insurance. A mutual insurance company, New York Life is one of the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and holds the highest possible financial strength ratings currently awarded to any life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody's Investor Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor's (AA+). (Source: Individual independent rating agency commentary as of 9/12/19.)

Eagle Strategies LLC

Eagle Strategies LLC ("Eagle") is a Registered Investment Adviser and a wholly-owned subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company. Eagle is dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions to help secure the future you desire. Eagle offers robust, high-quality investment advisory programs, ensuring Advisors have the necessary tools to design tailored solutions - solutions centered around your individual goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance.


Right Quotation

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

Right Quotation

Benjamin Franklin

Our Values

At The Forrest Group, we honor building relationships with our clients and the people in our community. Watch the video on the right to hear how our relationship developed over the years with Chairman Kevin Brady of the United States House of Representatives 8th Congressional District. In addition to valuing relationships with people, some of the other things we value as a company include:

  • Open communication
  • Commitment to continuing education
  • Trustworthiness and transparency
  • Putting our clients’ interests first

SMRU #1773998

Right Quotation

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

Right Quotation

Chinese Proverb

Our Approach

  • Step 2Goals & Direction
  • Step 3Develop
  • Step 4Coordinate
  • Step 5Implement
  • Step 6Monitor
  • Step 1Review

One thing our clients appreciate about working with us is that we don’t believe in cookie-cutter financial services or a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we follow a meticulous process designed to help get to know each client’s situation, goals and level of risk tolerance so that we can make appropriate recommendations to meet their needs. Everyone is different and we may amend our approach to suit a specific client, but in general, we utilize the following process to help those we're privileged to serve.

Step 1: Review ?

Step 1: Review

Review your individual situation and personal objectives. Every family's financial situation is unique. That's why it's so important to find out as much as we can about you and your financial goals. The more we know about you, the more precise recommendations we can make and the more we can help you. As a result, we may take some time to discuss your hopes, dreams and objectives, and the things that really matter to you. This is the basis for the first meeting with anyone we sit down with.

Step 2: Analyze ?

Step 2: Analyze

Analyze and review your needs. As needed, we will work with you to identify and prioritize your objectives, and then help establish benchmark goals. This is important because we live in a world of unlimited choices. People often fail to achieve objectives because they try to accomplish too much at once, or they don’t attach specific deadlines to their goals. By breaking down your goals to specific objectives, you can look at available resources and decide which goals are realistic, which need to be adjusted and scaled down, and which simply must be abandoned.

? Step 1: ReviewStep 3: Develop ?

Step 3: Develop

Develop and implement a strategy to help you achieve your goals. Based on our conversation and analysis, we can recommend the steps that it will take to help you achieve your financial goals.

? Step 2: AnalyzeStep 4: Coordinate ?

Step 4: Coordinate

Coordinate your financial activities. We regularly coordinate insurance and financial activities for clients with the other members of their team of financial, tax and legal advisors. We can do the same for you.

? Step 3: DevelopStep 5: Presentation ?

Step 5: Implement

We'll implement your strategy, and work closely with you and your other third party professionals to ensure its success. We'll monitor progress and provide ongoing service as your needs and situation change over time.

? Step 4: CoordinateStep 6: Monitor ?

Step 6: Monitor

Planning is not a one-shot deal. Strategies need to be adjusted periodically as your life and the economy changes. We will work with you over the years to help keep your program on track with your changing needs.

? Step 5: ImplementStep 1: Review ?

Right Quotation

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

Right Quotation

Benjamin Franklin

Our Core Services

Certainly, high net worth individuals face many complex questions about how to optimize their financial wealth and ensure the security of their families’ futures. Gib Surles is a Member Agent of The Nautilus Group®, a service of New York Life Insurance Company. Through our affiliation with The Nautilus Group®, we have access to an unmatched base of knowledge and experience. Together, we can work with you one-on-one to answer your questions and tailor solutions to fit your needs.

Business Succession and Exit Planning

Estate and Legacy Planning


Life Insurance

Working with Other Professionals

At The Forrest Group, we work with attorneys, accountants, trust officers and other financial professionals to better serve the needs of our clients. This collaborative approach gives our clients the most comprehensive service available. When you partner with The Forrest Group, you can rest assured that we will work with you to develop a mutually agreeable process for interacting with our shared clients.

We know that every organization has different methods and preferences for how communication is handled, so we are flexible and adaptable in order to effectively meet the needs of our clients within a cohesive team environment. We will always maintain open lines of communication and keep you apprised of all developments. We are a results-oriented firm, and we will deliver creative and effective solutions for your clients in the areas of business, estate, succession, and tax planning.

We invite you to explore our website to gain a clearer understanding of our team and the resources we bring to the table. If you have questions or would like to discuss a particular client that we may be of assistance with, please don’t hesitate to contact us.



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