@JohnAskew: I think stock shares that pass from the deceased to beneficiary should be taxed right away as inheritance tax. This will force inheritors of large equity positions in publicly traded companies to sell some of the stock to pay the tax liabilities. As Winston Churchill stated, the estate tax is "a certain corrective against the development of a race of idle rich". When the wealth of the rich is 90% held in stock, then it's not much of a corrective. The "step-up in basis" rule for stock essentially wipes out any tax liability for the beneficiaries since the cost basis for the stock is adjusted to the current fair market value when the shares exchange hands.