When you pass away, your taxable estate is going to play a role in whether your beneficiaries have to pay estate taxes.

What Is Included

Your taxable estate consists of practically all your property and assets. When you die, the value of all of these assets is going to be totaled up in order to determine what your taxable estate is. Included in your taxable estate will be any property that you own individually or jointly. Your financial accounts and retirement plans are also going to be included in your taxable estate. If you have a life insurance policy, the money from the policy will be included as well. If you held property in a trust that you controlled outright, this is going to count towards your taxable estate as well. If you have any annuities, these will be counted as well.


Certain things will be deducted from the total of your taxable estate. For example, any funeral costs that were paid from the estate will be deducted. Your debts and the amount of assets that you pass onto your spouse will also be deducted. 

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