Q. My father passed away in 2013 with all his property going to my mother. Do I have to file an estate tax return? M.M., Anonymous
A. Not necessarily. Generally, an estate tax return, Form 706, must be filed within nine months of death. But it’s not required if the value of the decedent’s assets doesn’t exceed the federal estate tax exemption for the year of death. The exemption for decedents dying in 2013 is $5.25 million ($5.34 million in 2014). Note that a lower limit may apply for state death tax purposes.
Tip: You still may choose to file a federal return to establish the value of assets in the estate.