All the real and PERSONAL PROPERTY owned by a decedent at the time of his or her death.
The calculation of the value of the gross estate is the first step in the computation that determines whether any estate tax is owed to federal or state governments. Federal and state laws define gross estate for purposes of taxation. Under federal law, the gross estate includes proceeds of life insurance policies that are payable to the decedent's estate, as well as policies to which the decedent retained "incidents of ownership" until his or her death, such as the right to change beneficiaries or to borrow against the cash surrender value of the policy.
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