Estate Tax and Marriage

When one spouse passes, no estate tax is required to be paid to either the federal government or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This exception is called the “Unlimited Marital Deduction” because no matter the size of the estate, a surviving spouse will not have to pay death taxes upon the death of their spouse. This is important in the short run, but in the long run, death taxes will catch up to the family. When the last living spouse dies and the estate passes to his or her beneficiaries, federal and state taxes may be due, depending on the size of the estate, perhaps at an even higher rate if the estate has increased in value.