Several of our clients who are doing estate planning are often confused about inheritance and estate taxes, who is responsible for paying them, and which states impose these taxes. This post should help clarify any misunderstandings and help equip you to complete your estate plan in the most tax-efficient manner possible.
The below map outlines the US states that have estate and/or inheritance tax. At this time, Maryland is the only state that has both.
The estate tax is levied on the value of your estate when you pass away and applies to the assets you leave behind. Estate tax is applied at the Federal level and by certain states.
The federal estate tax is subject to an exemption minimum of $12.92 million for an individual in 2023, so the tax won’t apply to the majority of taxpayers. The exemption limit typically increases each year to account for inflation.
Only the following states and the District of Columbia levy an estate tax at the state level. Exemption limits and tax rates vary by state.
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
Also, estate tax provides an unlimited marital deduction, allowing you to transfer (or “gift”) an unlimited amount of money to your spouse without tax.
Unlike the estate tax, which applies to the decedent's estate, inheritance tax is levied against the beneficiary or the person inheriting the assets. There is no federal inheritance tax, and the tax is only applicable to residents in these states:
- New Jersey
The amount of inheritance tax due depends on how direct the relationship is between the decedent and the beneficiary. For example, a child or grandparent may be exempt from inheritance tax in a state, whereas a sibling beneficiary might be subject to the tax. Spouses are exempt from inheritance tax.
Also, while you may live in a state that has no inheritance tax, your beneficiary may live in a state that does, and they would be subject to the inheritance tax rules within that state.
Work With Professionals
We hope this brief overview helps you better understand how inheritance and estate taxes work and how they could apply to the settlement of your estate and beneficiaries. Estate planning is a complex process, and we encourage you to work closely with your estate planning attorney to create a plan that enables you to transfer wealth most taxably.
Please contact us for more information.