The gross estate of a U.S. citizen or resident includes all of the decedent’s property, real or personal, tangible or intangible, wherever situated. IRC §2031(a). This includes property in which the decedent had an interest at the time of death. IRC §2033.
One exception to the general rule is that a portion of real property subject to a qualified conservation easement may be excluded from the gross estate. IRC §2031(c).
The gross estate also includes the value of certain lifetime transfers under IRC §§2035–2038 including, but not limited to, transfers with retained interests. Joint interests in property are included under IRC §2040. Property subject to a general power of appointment is included under IRC §2041. Proceeds of a life insurance policy on the decedent’s life may be included under IRC §2042. Generally, the gross estate does not include certain interests that terminate at the decedent’s death, such as an annuity payable only during the decedent’s life. IRC §2039. However, the gross estate includes other interests that terminate at death, such as QTIP property for which the estate of a predeceased spouse took a marital deduction. IRC §2044.