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For 2011, the federal estate tax exemption was $5 million and the estate tax rate for estates valued over this amount was 35%. Indexed for inflation the 2012 tax year exemption increased from $5 million to $5.12 million beginning on January 1, 2012.
So, there is no federal estate tax due (unless there were taxable gifts during the decedent's lifetime that would take the total estate plus gifts over those exemption amounts).
But, the $5 million federal exemption is temporary. It is currently scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2012. Of course, Congress can change that before year end.
The New York State exemption rate is only one million dollars. New York's estate tax is calculated on a graduated rate schedule.
For taxable estate from 250,000 to 500,000 the tax is 70,800 plus 34% of the amount over 250,000. From http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/2011/et/et706_2011.pdf Table A on page 4.
This is a bit of an overestimation as no deductions other the exemption amount are included in the tax estimate of 155,800 using those rate tables.
The expected federal estate tax (for 2012) is zero and the expected NYS estate tax is less than 156,000 on 1,500,000 gross estate value.
Please ask if you need clarification.