In general, what are Estate Taxes and how do they work?
- On June 7, 2001, President Bush signed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which made significant changes to Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes.
- Generally, the government assesses estate taxes when the gross value of your estate exceeds the applicable federal exclusion during the year of your death. Currently, the following exclusion amounts apply:
Year Decedent Dies
2006, 2007 and 2008
This means that if your gross estate is less than the applicable exclusion amount during the year of your death, your estate will pass to your heirs estate tax-free. If your estate exceeds this amount, your estate will pay significant estate taxes prior to distribution to your heirs.