Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Tax Answered

Date posted: July 27, 2015



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At Schwartz, Fang & Keating, P.C. we have over 30 years of probate and estate tax experience. With our knowledge and expertise we have created a list of frequently asked questions about estate tax and have provided the answers for you below. We hope you find these helpful as you navigate the areas of estate planning.

Are all estates subject to estate tax?

According to Federal law, estates are subject to federal estate tax if the estate is over $5,430,000 for a person who dies in 2015. In New York State, the 2015 limit is $3,124,000. Please note that the rates are continuously changing and there are other aspects of the estate that effect if it is taxed or not. You can read more about this topic in our blog post on what estates are subject to estate tax.

What if I do not have my paperwork ready by the filing due date?

An extension to file for up to six months from the due date of the return may be requested by the estate’s representative. However, it is very important to note that the correct amount of tax is still due by the due date. If it is not paid by the original due date (not the extension due date) interest will be accrued on any amounts owed.

What if I sell the property that I have inherited?

If you were to sell a property that you have inherited, the sale is usually considered as a sale of a capital asset. It therefore may be subject to capital gains (or loss) treatment. However, IRC §1014 states that property acquired from a decedent is assessed at its fair market value at the date of death. That being the case, if the sale occurs soon after the date of death there should usually be little or no gain to account for.

Can I avoid estate taxes by giving away my assets?



Giving gifts to your would-be beneficiaries can be an effective way to avoid future estate taxes. However, there are some limitations to this. There is an annual limit to the amount of money or monetary value of gifts that can be given in a fiscal year without being subject to gift or estate tax. Federal law sets that limit at $14,000 for an individual and $28,000 for a married couple who gift jointly. However, gifts given within a certain time frame from the date of death are often included in the estate. Additionally, if many gifts are given within that time immediately before a death and a precedent for gift giving had never been set, then the gifts are seen as suspicious and can be investigated. To learn more about giving tax free gifts please read the blog post on tax free gifts: rules and regulations.


Contact Us

For more information regarding estate tax laws and estate planning, please contact the law offices of Schwartz, Fang & Keating, P.C. Our expert lawyers and estate planning administrators are happy to work with you and answer all of your questions.