Craig has been serving his clients for over a decade and is a founding partner of Mergent Group. As a CFP® professional, he believes that this symbol stands out as a mark for providing the best possible financial advice for clients.
Craig came from the aviation industry, which he believes is very similar to the principles of planning since going from one place to another, especially long journeys, require detailed planning and resources so that the destination can be reached with adequate reserve.
Attention to detail, good listening skills and great empathy are symbols of appreciation by his clients. He is effectively supported by a team of specialists in the investment and administration areas whose teamwork and professionalism help him build long-term relationships with his growing client base and provide excellent customer service.
Craig is a proud recipient of Excelsior College's Bachelor of Science degree and the University of Georgia's Graduate Certificate of Financial Planning. His focus is on professional Aviators, Doctors and health practitioners, and special needs families. He is an active member of the Dallas Chapter of the Financial Planning Association, and regularly gives talks to non-profit groups such as the YMCA and AARP.
Craig has been a professional aviator for over 25 years obtaining his first license in High School, and has been a member of the Aircraft Owner's and Pilots Association since 1986. He has been passionate about aviation his entire life and if you ask will be happy to tell you about aviation. He is currently rated as an Airline Transport Pilot, and has qualified on the Boeing 737, 727, Learjet 60, and Challenger 604/605. He has operated as a Captain, and an Pilot Instructor with examiner authority (simulator) for the FAA, European, and Hong Kong aviation authorities.
Craig is happily married to his lovely wife Rene and has two great sons. Away from the business, Craig enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, flying, and participates in the Dad's club of his son's school.
BS, Interdisciplinary Studies, Excelsior College
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I am not a lawyer, so my answer would need to be verified with a proper attorney qualified in estate planning. That being said, the answer lies in the purpose of each document. The living trust only covers your property that is titled in the trust. For instance, a fully owned vacation home in another state may be titled in the trust to ease estate planning. The key is titling of assets. The will takes care of any estate items that are not titled. For instance, you can't put a beneficiary on your home if it is owned by you. The home usually has to pass through the will (there are exceptions). Think of a will as a way to tell the state you live in that any property that you own is to go to a person you want and there is no other way to do it. The will will not affect any titled property in a living trust. For community property, that is usually for divorce purposes.
I will let you know that both planners have given you product solutions. I don't enjoy seeing that approach as advice right off the bat. One is using insurance, the other is just using a progression that is typical to we see in the industry. Yes, life insurance can be a good supplement, but you need more of a big picture program. The way to evaluate who is best is to go with the one that you compensate first for a strategy and then see what the strategy suggests, and I don't mean products. The strategy will tell you four things you need to know: how much you have in assets to fund your goals, how much immediate cash you have on hand to take care of known or unknown circumstances, how your debt structure looks, and how much risk exposure you have and what to move to insurance and how much to retain. That's it! Most people are not fond of planning, and frankly most people claiming to be planners are not really planners. It is not a regulated word like a CPA (most states restrict the use of accountant to a CPA). Here is a tip, find a planner who tells you "I don't know what will work best for you." If they offer a one hour consult to you and offer no product solutions, but offer to do a plan for you, that is a sign of a good planning office.
That is really a planning question based on how you want to take care of what makes you feel comfortable. First, if the money you received is taxable, make sure you reserve enough to cover the tax bill. Second, I would suggest the credit cards be paid if they are all revolving debt. That means accrued interest on a daily basis on the outstanding balance. Third, on the home, that requires a little more thought since it really involves cash flow and your current situation. Usually I don't currently recommend that immediately if there is a need for other areas. On your CD idea, you are probably used to seeing that as a savings vehicle. Unfortunately, the traditional CD right now is a substandard vehicle for keeping up with basic inflation and it may lock your money up for a time that you may need it. Without knowing your personal situation, I would recommend talking to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(TM) to help you make your decision.
Yes, you can do that. Since a 529 plan is transferrable, you can register the account under your own name with your Social Security, spouse, etc. The owner and beneficiary are two separate entities on the account. The owner can change the beneficiaries as long as there is a Social Security number. Always check with the plan sponsor before opening the account to make sure there are no restrictions within the plan before investing.
You pose a good question about your estate. The only issue I would question is the ownership of the IRA. The IRS is pretty clear on the IRA rules, there has to be a qualified trustee on the IRA, and it cannot be your own trust. This is because of the reporting requirements of the accounts every year to the IRS to determine distribution and taxes owed. Here is what I would check to make sure you are okay: First, wherever the custody of the asset is located (if brokered products, at the Broker Dealer), check on how the ownership is registered. Is the retirement account in your name with your Social Security number? If it is showing registered in your trust, then you may have a tax issue. If, in fact, the name of your retirement account is in your revocable trust, then it is considered a deemed full distribution on the date of the registration. That means on your tax return, you would have to add the amount of the value of the account to your income tax return, and if you were below age 59 1/2, pay an additional 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. I would check first with the person that recommended the structure, as this is not at all common practice and would not be in your best interest. I don't think that is the case, but make sure that the IRA is in your name.