The fact that both the federal and state governments impose a tax on the right to transfer wealth at death provides a powerful motivation to plan an estate so that it will pay the minimal amount of tax while achieving nontax objectives. Reducing this tax bite at death is generally accomplished by using one or more of the following strategies:

Use of these strategies requires that a planner be intimately familiar with both the broad outlines and the fine details of estate taxes. This module will educate you about the federal estate tax. Since many state taxes imposed at death are similar to the federal tax in design if not in detail, you can use the knowledge gained in this module as a model for understanding you're your particular state's death tax.

About the Author

David Mannaioni, CFP®, MPASSM is a professor at the College for Financial Planning. Utilizing his 30+ years of experience in the financial services industry, David also maintains a financial planning practice where he works with his clients in all areas of financial planning. In addition to his certifications, David holds life and health insurance licenses in several states, as well as the Series 6, Series 7, and Series 63 registrations with FINRA. You can contact David at

Complexity Level: Advanced