I made this item of taxation #1 because it is the most egregious. Monies that have been previously taxed during the lifetime of the decedent are taxed yet again.
There is some history behind this tax that has to do with the attempt to break up the huge family empires of the early 20th century.
The exclusion is fairly high and therefore the tax does not pertain many in the middle class. The exemption is $5,340,000 in 2014 and $5,430,000 in 2015.
There is no logical basis for the government assessing a tax against property. As pointed out above this property is already taxed.
The estate tax is essentially a transfer excise tax.