A gross taxable estate includes assets that maintain an interest upon an individual’s death, regardless of whether the assets pass by way of a last will and testament. A gross taxable estate includes gifts made during an individual’s lifetime that exceed $14,000 per person per year. Also, a gross taxable estate includes property transferred during a person’s life that he or she retains an interest in. This means that, if the property is transferred to another individual but one retained a life estate in the property, then it is part of the gross taxable estate. Also, the interest that is payable upon someone’s death, such as a property or life insurance policy, may be deemed as part of the gross taxable estate.