The short answer to this question is “Well, it depends.” It depends on how much money and property you have in your estate, including tax deferred retirement savings and life insurance benefits.
Estates valued at or below $11.7 million face no Federal estate tax. For married couples, an estate tax sheltering plan can be crafted to shelter up to $23.4 million from estate tax. The amount above these exclusion levels is subject to a Federal estate tax of up to 40%.
Remember that your estate includes real property, life insurance proceeds from policies owned by you or your trust, and the value of tax-deferred retirement savings, such as IRAs, 401(k) accounts and 403(b) accounts.