When you pass away your remaining assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries of your estate. However, depending on the value of your estate, your estate may have to pay a tax, called an estate tax, for the privilege of giving your assets to your beneficiaries. An Estate Tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. The legal representative of your estate will be required to account for and value every asset you own and report it on an estate tax return to the government. The total value of all of these assets is called your "Gross Estate" and includes all of your property such as cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cars, boats, real estate, life insurance, retirement plans, collectible, trusts, annuities, business interests, and anything else you may have held an interest in. This estate tax is assessed against your estate both at the state and federal level.

          Following the “de-coupling” of the state and federal state tax system some years ago,

        Massachusetts re-instituted its’ own separate state estate tax.  For some people, even if your estate is exempt from paying federal estate taxes, your estate could still be subject to estate taxes at the state level.  For Massachusetts residents, if your estate exceeds $1 Million, your estate will have to file a state estate tax return and, depending on who is receiving the assets from your estate, your estate could be subject to state estate tax.

          The Massachusetts estate tax applies to estates valued in excess of $1 Million, without any exclusions. Further, Massachusetts taxes the entire estate, even if the estate is $1 over the filing threshold.  The estate tax rate starts at about 2 percent and tops out at 16 percent for higher estates.

          If you would like to discuss your legal matter with one of our attorneys please contact this office and arrange for a free initial consultation. Our experienced attorneys can assist you with your legal needs.