“My parents are getting old and haven't begun planning what to do with their estate. This year they are going to take advantage of the $10 Million exception and pass along stocks to our children.”-->Basically, as you can see, the Federal estate tax ( there is no federal level inheritance tax, but in some states)is imposed on the transfer of the taxable estate of every decedent who is a citizen or resident of the United States. For deaths occurring in 2011, up to $5,000,000 can be passed from an individual (for married couples, the applicable amount is $10,000,000) upon his or her death without incurring estate tax. However, your children must(MAY) be subject to either state level inheritance tax or estate tax, or both, depending on the state. Some states impose only inheritance etax(no estate tax) while other states impose both inheritance and estate taxes. Other states impose only estate taxes.For example, in the case of FL, Florida's estate tax system was commonly referred to as a "pick up" tax. Florida picked up all or a portion of the credit for state death taxes allowed by the federal government. Under this system, Florida estate tax was not due unless an estate was required to file a federal estate tax return. When the gross value of an estate is below the minimum, 2011 and 2012 ;$5,000,000 ($10 million for MFJ as said above), federal estate filing requirements, estate tax is not due in Florida. Florida estate tax was based solely on the federal credit, after December 31, 2004 estate tax was no longer due.Hiwever, if your children live in NJ state; then as $10 million exceeds their state level minimum inheritance tax credit, $650,000(or I guess $1,3 million , I guess, NOT sure you may check it on Depr of revenue of NJ) , they need to pay tax on her $8.7million; $410million> $650,000.($1.3million for MFJ, I guess) In New Jersey, estates worth more than $675,000( or $1.3 million for mFJ)may owe state inheritance(estate) tax. In many states, state level minimum inheritance tax credit is $1 million.However, it varied form state to state, so you need to check it with your children’s state Dept of Revenue.
“ There is still a large sum of stocks valued at around $20 Million. Can anyone suggest how best to pass this along? I have read about Charitable Trusts but don't think we want to go that route. Obviously we would like to pass as much of it as possible to the children without the Gov't getting their hands on it.”--->Iguess you need to get some professional help from an estate planning attorney as long as your parents care about who inherit their assets, their future healthcare should they become incapacitated, or avoiding the hassles of a probate court, then they should have an estate plan.