While it has been a long and sordid journey, the traffic cones have been lifted and the barriers cleared. Not being an estate and gift tax expert, that was certainly my first impression when I read that New Jersey lawmakers finally agreed to phase out the estate tax, raise the gas tax by 23 cents a gallon, gradually lower the sales tax rate, and provide an exemption for retirees.
First, the good news: For decedents dying on or after January 1, 2017, the NJ Estate Tax exclusion increases from $675,000 to $2,000,000. For decedents dying on or after January 1, 2018, the tax is completely eliminated. Here is the catch though: New Jersey still has in place and currently has no plans to eliminate the Inheritance Tax. Leave money to the right relatives and (on or after 1/1/18) no tax applies. Leave money to friends or the wrong relatives and your estate may be in for a big surprise.