For tax purposes, when a person dies he or she is left with a “gross estate” A person’s gross estate consists of everything that person owns or has an interests in at the date of their death . The fair market value of these items is used to determine the person’s gross estate. Specific examples of what kind of property is includible in a person’s gross estate are cash and securities, real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets. A person’s gross estate will likely include non-probate as well as probate property. If your gross estate is $1,000,000 or more there is very likely some complexity to your estate. An estate tax return filing is required for estates with combined gross assets and prior taxable gifts exceeding $1,500,000 in 2004 – 2005; $2,000,000 in 2006 – 2008; and $3,500,000 effective for decedents dying on or after January 1, 2009. There are legal and legitmate ways to pass on property before death to minimize estate tax. Gove Paul a call to discuss your estate affairs or click here to contact Paul through this web site.