"If I'm left some money in my uncle's will, do I have to pay taxes on it?" No, but ...
A recent update in The National Law Journal, titled “Trusts and Estates Law Update - January 2014,” considered this common question.
If the estate is greater than $5.34 million under current law at your uncle’s passing, then the estate will be required to pay estate taxes. In addition, some states themselves impose an independent state estate tax. Caution: If your uncle made gifts exceeding the annual gift exclusion (i.e., $14,000 for 2014) in any given year to a beneficiary, then the amount in excess reduces the $5.34 million that can be left estate tax free at death.
Accordingly, for 2014, an individual can receive a lifetime exemption of $5.34 million. That means that you can receive up to that amount from your uncle’s estates without his estate owing any tax. If during your lifetime you are fortunate enough to receive more than $5.34 million from your uncle, then the estate would be required to pay taxes on anything above that threshold.
Spoiler alert: This area of law can get complicated.
Reference: The National Law Journal, February 11, 2014: “Trusts and Estates Law Update - January 2014”