Please remember that this answer is provided in the spirit of public education, not as legal advice. If you require legal advice for a particular situation, you should consult an attorney.

Why do I need a will?
Is probate really that bad?
Do I need a Living trust?
Can my estate avoid paying an executor's fee?
How can I save taxes?
What is a bypass trust?
What is a life insurance trust?
What is a Crummey trust?
What is the difference between community property and separate property?
What taxes will the beneficiary of my life insurance policy have to pay?

What's the difference between an inheritance tax and an estate tax?

Who will get my property if I die without a will?


Copyright 1998-2018 by Dianne Reis.

What's the difference between an inheritance tax and an estate tax.

An inheritance tax is a tax imposed on the people (beneficiaries) who receive property from the deceased. The tax is calculated separately for each beneficiary, and each beneficiary is responsible for paying his or her own inheritance taxes. Those states that have inheritance taxes frequently tax spouses and children of the deceased at lower rates than other heirs.

An estate tax is a tax imposed on the deceased's estate as a whole. The executor fills out a single estate tax return and pays the tax out of the estate's funds. The heirs will only be held liable for the tax if the executor fails to pay it.

The federal government imposes an estate tax on all citizens and residents of the United States. It imposes no inheritance tax. Every estate gets an estate tax deduction for all property received by the deceased's spouse, as well as a $11.18 million standard exemption for all other property. Thus, many middle class Americans will owe no federal estate tax.

Texas does not have an estate tax or an inheritance tax of its own.