For 2009, you must file an estate tax return if the inherited estate exceeds $3.5 million.
Estate Tax Deductions
There are ways in which you can lower the likelihood of the estate being subject to taxes by giving gifts and taking advantage of estate tax deductions. The deductions include a marital deduction, charitable deduction, mortgages and debt, and estate administrative expenses and losses while it is distributed.
Unified Credit to Estate Tax
The unified credit is a credit against the estate and gift tax that allows you to transfer a portion of your estate tax-free. For 2009, the exclusion amount is $1,455,800
The estate tax starts at 18 percent for the lowest portion of the estate that exceeds the exclusion amount and increases to 45 percent.
In 2010, the estate tax will be repealed, but it will return in 2011.