Essentially, the new law increased taxable estate values from $1 million to to $2.062 million before estate taxes (3.06% – 16%) kick in, which, logically, should provide some tax relief benefit.
However, due to the fact that the law also phases out certain credits related to federal taxes, people who have estates valued just above the new level could end up with a big estate tax bills for the portion of the estate that exceed the new threshold. And the bills could get even higher as the exemption level rises to over $5 million by 2017.
The CNBC article concisely details the complex issues; for examples of who could be affected and by how much, as well as a video report, go to New York rich face tax surprise when they die. (opens in new window)