The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the federal estate tax exemption considerably. Before the tax reform law, it was $5.49 million per person for 2017. It's up to $11.7 million for 2021 ($23.4 million for a married couple). So, now, even fewer taxpayers have to worry about federal estate taxes when they die. However, if your goal is to leave as much as you can to your heirs, then you should also pay attention to the state you choose for retirement.
Twelve states and the District of Columbia levy their own estate taxes, sometimes called death taxes, and some have much lower thresholds than the federal government. In addition, six states have inheritance taxes. Maryland, whose nickname is the Free State, has both.
The good news for retirees focused on estate planning: There are 33 states that have neither estate taxes nor inheritance taxes. Take a look.
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