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Taking over a small practice

I'm a senior associate in tax working for a top 25 firm.  There is room for advancement over the next few years.  I currently have an opportunity to jump to a small practice with the intention of being the successor to the lone owner with the transition occuring over the next 4-5 years.  There is another CPA currently working at the firm who intends to retire in the next 2 years.  The owner lives a comfortable life, better than most if not all of the partners in my office. 

Has anyone been in a similar situation?  How did the transition go?  Any items of advice/questions to ask that you wish you had prior to accepting the position?