Estate Tax


Estate Tax
A tax levied on an heir's inherited portion of an estate if the value of the estate exceeds an exclusion limit set by law. The estate tax is mostly imposed on assets left to heirs, but it does not apply to the transfer of assets to a surviving spouse. The right of spouses to leave any amount to one another is known as the "unlimited marital deduction".

When the surviving spouse who inherited an estate dies, the beneficiaries may then owe estate taxes if the estate exceeds the exclusion limit. Because the estate tax can be quite high, careful estate planning is advisable.

In 1997, a change in U.S. laws increased the value of assets that a beneficiary may exclude from federal estate taxes - though many states have their own estate taxes. With this change of laws, small business owners became able to pass on farms and other qualifying businesses to their heirs.


Investment dictionary. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • estate tax — n: an excise in the form of a percentage of the taxable estate that is imposed on a property owner s right to transfer the property to others after his or her death – called also succession tax; see also unified transfer tax compare gift tax,… …   Law dictionary

  • estate tax — estate′ tax n. law a tax imposed on the net worth of a decedent s property prior to distribution to the heirs Also called death tax 1) • Etymology: 1905–10 …   From formal English to slang

  • estate tax — a tax imposed on a decedent s property, assessed on the gross estate prior to distribution to the heirs. Also called death tax. [1905 10] * * * Levy on the value of property changing hands at the death of the owner, fixed mainly by reference to… …   Universalium

  • estate tax — A tax imposed on the right to transfer property by death. Thus, an estate tax is levied on the decedent s estate and not on the heir receiving the property. A tax levied on right to transmit property, while inheritance tax is levied on right to… …   Black's law dictionary

  • estate tax — A tax imposed on the right to transfer property by death. Thus, an estate tax is levied on the decedent s estate and not on the heir receiving the property. A tax levied on right to transmit property, while inheritance tax is levied on right to… …   Black's law dictionary

  • estate tax — A federal or state tax imposed on an individual s assets inherited by heirs. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary * * * estate tax estate tax ➔ tax1 * * * estate tax UK US noun [C] US (UK inheritance tax, UK death duty, UK estate duty) ► T …   Financial and business terms

  • estate tax — noun a tax on the estate of the deceased person • Syn: ↑inheritance tax, ↑death tax, ↑death duty • Hypernyms: ↑transfer tax * * * noun, pl ⋯ taxes [count, noncount] : a tax that you pay on the money and other property that comes to you because… …   Useful english dictionary

  • estate tax — A tax upon the transmission of property by a deceased person, that is, upon the privilege of transmitting property. 28 Am J Rev ed Inher T § 5. A tax imposed upon the net or taxable estate of a decedent without reference to the relationship of… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • estate tax — tax imposed on the assets of a dead person according to the value of the estate …   English contemporary dictionary

  • estate tax — noun Date: 1928 a tax in the form of a percentage of the taxable estate that is imposed on a property owner s right to transfer the property to others after his or her death compare inheritance tax 1 …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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