As reported in the TaxProf Blog, Citizens for Tax Justice has released a state-by-state ranking of the number of estates owing federal estate tax in 2006. North Carolina ranked 13th, with 523 estates paying estate tax that year. Not exactly a large number! The estate tax exemption in 2006 was $2 million, as it is this year, so only estates valued over that amount owed tax. Assets passing to a surviving spouse or charity are tax-free regardless of the amount.
With proper planning, married couples can pass on up to $4 million to their heirs without tax.