How to Avoid Illinois Estate Tax? A Detailed Guide [2024]

If you’re wondering how to avoid paying Illinois estate tax, consider tactics like planning trusts, giving gifts, and being mindful of the relevant exemptions.
How to Avoid Illinois Estate Tax
How to Avoid Illinois Estate Tax? A Detailed Guide [2024]
Understand critical thresholds and exemptions to administer Illinois Estate Tax efficiently. Let's explore planning techniques such as trusts. Get expert advice when delving into the specifics for individualized insights.
In this article

If you are wealthy enough when you die, you might have to pay the Illinois estate tax. In other words, you would pay taxes on your estate after you die but before your heirs receive your money.

A good idea is to know what your estate tax will be before you pay it. In Illinois, the estate tax rate is graduated, with the highest rate being 16%. However, it is essential to understand which strategies will allow you to avoid estate tax in Illinois.

Also, use Beem to file your federal and state taxes to get the maximum refund at the best price.

how to avoid illinois estate tax

Illinois has a $4 million estate tax exemption. This means estates valued under $4 million won’t pay any state estate tax. Here are the best strategies to avoid the Illinois estate tax for residents:

Strategic Gifting:

  • Annual Exclusion: You can gift up to $17,000 per person each year (in 2024) without it counting towards your lifetime exemption or incurring gift tax.
  • Lifetime Exemption: While there’s no longer a federal estate tax exemption, Illinois still has a $4 million lifetime exemption. Using this effectively through life to reduce your taxable estate is strategic.
  • Spousal Gifts: Transfers of assets to your spouse are generally unlimited and tax-free.


  • Irrevocable Trust: Putting assets in an irrevocable trust removes them from your taxable estate but also relinquishes some control. Consider this carefully.
  • Revocable Living Trust: These trusts are flexible, but don’t bypass estate tax as the assets are still considered part of your estate.

Charitable Donations:

Life Insurance:

  • Establishing an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) can help pay for estate taxes by providing liquidity without increasing the taxable value of your estate.

Also Read: Does Illinois have Estate Tax?

How to Minimize Estate Tax in Illinois?

All of this can be managed with the help of estate planning techniques. It’s a good idea to plan advanced gifts. In many cases, life insurance planning is also effective. Here are some strategies one can follow to minimize estate tax.

  • The first step to minimizing estate taxes is to understand this threshold. Over $4 million estates will be subject to Illinois’ estate tax as of 2023.
  • You can decrease your estate value by gifting assets to beloved family members while alive.
  • You may choose a revocable or irrevocable trust to minimize your estate’s tax liability. A revocable trust, a living trust, lets you retain control. It is generally unchangeable once an irrevocable trust is established, which removes the assets from your taxable estate, but you lose some control over those assets. 
  • An estate tax can be minimized through ownership structures such as joint tenancy. Property can pass directly from one joint tenant to the next, avoiding the need for an estate.
  • Tax liability can be reduced significantly by avoiding the probate process entirely, and by avoiding the probate process altogether, certain assets and ownership structures can be exempt from probate.
  • Having a financial power of attorney can help you make timely decisions that can reduce the value of your estate during the settlement of debts and distribution of your assets.
  • Alternatively, you can move to a state with no estate tax and sell any estate holdings you still have in Illinois.
  • Typically, state estate taxes do not apply to assets left to civil union partners, surviving spouses, or charities.

What is the Estate Tax in Illinois?

Estate taxes apply to transferring assets between generations, from parents to their heirs. These taxes are generally imposed on estates with a total value exceeding a certain amount, which varies from state to state.

There are, however, differences between states regarding estate taxes. For Illinois, the estate tax rate is progressive and varies based on the estate’s value. Estates over $3 million are subject to marginal estate tax rates ranging from 0.8% to 16%.

Illinois Estate Tax Exemption

The Illinois estate tax exemption is similar to the federal exemption. It also reduces the amount of estate taxes that have to be paid. The state exemption amounts to $5,000,000; you do not owe Illinois estate taxes on transfers up to that amount. 

Who Does the Illinois Estate Tax Apply to?

The state imposes estate taxes on two types of estates. The first is for residents with estates valued at over $4 million. The second is for nonresidents with property worth more than $4 million in the state.

What Are the Differences Between the Illinois Federal and Estate Taxes?

Illinois and the federal government tax estates separately. Each has its tax rate for estates over $4 million. Illinois taxes estates over $4 million at variable rates. A surviving spouse might have portability options for federal taxes on estates over $11.18 million at a 40% rate.

FeatureIllinois Estate TaxFederal Estate Tax
Exemption Amount$4 million$12.92 million (2023), $13.61 (2024)
Tax Rates0.8% – 16%18% – 40%
Who It AffectsIllinois ResidentsUS Citizens & Resident Aliens
Filing Deadline9 months9 months

What Is Included in an Illinois Estate?

Illinois’ estate tax applies only to estates worth more than $4 million. The tax also applies to nonresidents who own physical or real property in Illinois worth more than $4 million. The tax on estates over $4 million is 28.5%, while estates over $11.18 million are taxed at 40%.

Whenever an estate has assets valued at more than $4 million, the executor must file an estate tax return with the state of Illinois. The executor is responsible for finding all assets. If a federal estate tax return is not required, the executor must file this within nine months of their death.


The estate tax can be complicated, but you must factor it into your planning. A high federal and state estate tax can significantly affect what you leave to your heirs because of estate tax planning.

When you pass away, the Federal and Illinois estate taxes can significantly reduce the assets your family receives. Tax minimization strategies are available to minimize the applicable tax. Check out Beem to file your federal and state taxes without any hidden charges and get the maximum refund.


Is Illinois estate tax portable for married couples?

There is no automatic portability of Illinois estate taxes between married couples. If both spouses die, the estate can only use the exemption of one of the spouses.

Are estate tax and inheritance tax the same?

No, the main difference between an estate tax and an inheritance tax lies within the name itself. A deceased individual’s estate pays the estate tax before distributing the money to their heirs. On the other hand, the person who inherits the deceased person’s money/assets pays inheritance tax.

When are estate taxes due?

After the date of death, the estate tax return must be filed. If you apply for an extension before the due date and pay the estimated amount of tax before the due date, you may receive an extension of six months. Gift tax returns should be filed by April 15th, following the year they were given.

Who is responsible for filing an estate tax return and paying estate tax in Illinois?

In Illinois, the estate executor is responsible for locating all the assets in the estate. The executor must file a state estate tax return if the assets are valued over $4 million.

Was this helpful?

Did you like the post or would you like to give some feedback? Let us know your opinion by clicking one of the buttons below!



Picture of Prem Kishan

Prem Kishan

A seasoned Product Manager who thrives on making a meaningful impact within the organization, Prem is deeply passionate about tackling intricate problems using cutting-edge technology and is a specialist in tax content.


This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

Related Posts

What states don't have sales tax?
What States Don’t Have Sales Tax in 2024?
Are you curious about states without sales taxes? Discover how living in these states affects consumer behavior and business desirability. Let's explore the economics of sales tax-free zones further.
New York Tax Forms
New York Tax Forms in 2024
Obtaining New York tax forms can be done easily through several methods. Read on to know where to find these forms, how to download them, and the best practices for completing and submitting them.
Texas Tax Forms
Your Complete Guide to Texas Tax Forms in 2024
Filing taxes in Texas involves understanding and completing several important forms. Read this blog to know some of the most common tax forms you'll need as a Texas resident, to ensure you remain organized and compliant with state regulations.
Pennsylvania Tax Forms
Pennsylvania Tax Forms in 2024
Pennsylvania offers individuals and businesses various tax credits and deductions to reduce their tax liability. Read on to get an overview of some key credits and deductions available.
Illinois Tax Forms
Illinois Tax Forms in 2024
Illinois provides a standard exemption for taxpayers and their dependents, which reduces taxable income. This exemption is offered to all inhabitants and helps to reduce the overall tax liability. Read on to know more about this.
Kansas Tax Forms
Essential Kansas Tax Forms in 2024
When taxpayers owe more income tax to the Kansas Department of Revenue, they must use the K-40V form to make those payments. The taxpayer's account is guaranteed to receive the money when they submit this voucher. Read on to know more.

Get up to $1,000 for emergencies

Send money to anyone in the US

Ger personalized financial insights

Monitor and grow credit score

Save up to 40% on car insurance

Get up to $1,000 for loss of income

Insure up to $1 Million

Coming Soon

File federal and state taxes at low cost

Quick estimate of your tax returns

Get up to $1,000 for emergencies

Send money to anyone in the US

Save big on auto insurance - compare quotes now!

Zip Code:
Zip Code: