What the question tells him is that it's becoming more important to investors to know what will happen to their assets if their financial advisor unexpectedly dies or is disabled. And, thus, a succession plan can serve as an appealing aspect of a firm.
And yet, study after study shows that roughly two-thirds of advisory businesses have no succession plan at all. Carson, who also does consulting work with advisors through another business he created, Peak Advisor Alliance, estimates that just 5 percent actually have a well-thought-out, detailed plan.
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Among other things, succession planning "has to be addressed from an income-tax, transfer-tax and estate-planning standpoint. There has to be a mechanism to keep [the firm's] stakeholders in place, and there has to be communication with existing clients," Carson said.
He considers a succession plan different from a continuity plan, which only addresses an advisor's tidy, planned retirement. It's the unexpected events that advisors need to prepare for, he said.