When an individual passes away, their estate may have to pay estate taxes if the gross estate exceeds the applicable exemption amount in effect in the year of the decedent’s death. This year, that exemption amount is $5.25 million. The gross estate may include any of the following: property owned outright by the decedent, property held jointly with another party, life insurance policies owned by the decedent, and certain annuities. There are other interests that are counted towards the gross estate, but you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney to determine whether your estate is at risk of being subject to federal estate taxes. If you have questions regarding your estate plan, please contact one of our experiened estate planning attorneys at (714) 282-7488.