Every state has a wrongful death act. Probate practitioners are probably familiar with their state’s version. Almost everywhere, though, the decedent’s personal representative must bring a wrongful death and survival action. And the general rule is that survival damages (for the decedent’s pain and suffering) go to the estate and are taxable. But the wrongful death awards go to the next of kin for loss of society, consortium or support. These awards are not subject to estate tax. The ...

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