A tax imposed on the right to transfer property by inheritance and assessed on the net value of a decedent's estate before distribution to the heirs.
A tax levied on a deceased person's estate.
A state or federal tax assessed on property left to heirs. In 2002, the amount of an estate that could be excluded from federal taxes was raised to $1 million, and this figure will continue to rise until it tops out at $3.5 million in 2009. Once the $1 million threshold has been passed, estates are taxed at 50 percent, which decreases to 45 percent in 2007.