Death Duties Law and Legal Definition

Death duties or taxes imposed on the transfer of property by will or by intestate succession. In short it is the tax levied on the value of an estate when it is passed to heirs upon the death of its owner. It includes all taxes, duties or fees payable to the Government or its agencies by the estate and by reason of any disposition of estate property. In U.S this is popularly referred to as Estate tax. In some states, the tax is imposed on the receipt of the property by the heirs, rather than the decedent's transfer, and is called an inheritance tax. Estate taxes are a form of transfer tax because it is based on the transfer of title to property, rather than the property itself.