Federal Gift and Estate Exclusion Limits and Tax

For 2019, there is a $11,400,000 gift and estate tax basic exclusion amount, the estate of a deceased spouse can transfer any unused applicable exclusion amount to the surviving spouse, and the top gift and estate tax rate is 40%.

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A word about state death taxes

The individual states also impose their own "death taxes," in the form of an estate tax or an inheritance tax, or both. Whether your estate will be subject to state death taxes depends on the size of your estate and the tax laws in effect in the state in which you are domiciled.

Some states also impose a separate gift tax.

A word about generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax

GST tax is an additional tax imposed on property you transfer to an individual who is two or more generations below you (e.g., a grandchild or great-nephew). A flat tax rate equal to the highest estate tax rate then in effect is imposed on every generation-skipping transfer you make over the GST tax exemption, which is $11,400,000 (in 2019, $11,180,000 in 2018).

Some states also impose their own GST tax.