Federal Estate Taxes
Congress and the president, on January 1, 2013, reached a deal that averted a potential increase in the Estate Tax. This agreement avoided the "Fiscal Cliff"; which would have resulted in a considerable tax increase.
Based on reports, approximately the first $5 millions in an individual's name at the time of death will pass free of Estate Tax. For married couples, there is Portability of this credit. Portability allows one spouse, upon his or her death, to transfer any unused credit to the surviving spouse. For married couples, the effective Federal Estate Tax credit is approximately $10 million.
Any amount owned at the time of death in excess of the Estate Tax credit will be taxed at a rate of 40%.