The IRS has issued its quarterly SOI Statistics of Income Bulletin Spring 2008 (IRS Publication 1136). Included in that bulletin is an analysis of Federal Estate Tax Returns Filed by 2004 Decedents.
As shown in Figure C, both male and female estate tax decedents outlived their counterparts in the general population. The average age at death for men in the 2004 estate tax decedent population was 77.2, compared to 75.2 for men in the general population, while the averages for women were 82.0 and 80.4, respectively.
To be an “estate tax decedent” in 2004, one had a gross estate for federal estate tax purposes of more than $1.5 million.