Whether property or assets are owned only by the decedent, jointly with another, or passes by a beneficiary designation or otherwise to a named beneficiary, such property is considered taxable in the decedents estate, and the family, persons in possession of such property or the Personal Representative must consider and determine if an estate tax filing is required. A federal estate tax filing is only required if the value of the decedent's estate exceeds 5.3 million dollars. However, the filing threshold for Massachusetts purposes is 1 million dollars. Although filing may be required, if a spouse is surviving who takes the property an estate tax may not be due as the spouse has what is called an unlimited marital deduction, which in effect exempts all such property passing to the spouse from the imposition of estate tax.
If the value of an estate is below the Massachusetts filing threshold the person in possession of real estate or the Personal Representative may execute an Affidavit certifying that no estate tax filing is required, which should be recorded in the Registry of Deeds or Land Court in the County where any such real estate is located, and such Affidavit will operate as a release of such estate tax lien.
Please keep in mind that circumstances vary for each client, and we suggest that you consult a professional tax advisor or attorney when dealing with these matters. If you do not have an attorney please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Stephen R. Manning, P.C. at 413-525-1119.