The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the federal exemption from estate taxes to $11.2 million per person, or $22.4 million for a married couple, so the vast majority of taxpayers won't have to worry about federal estate taxes. However, if your goal is to leave as much as you can to your heirs, then you should also pay attention to the state you choose for retirement.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia levy their own estate taxes, sometimes called death taxes, and some have much lower thresholds than Uncle Sam. In addition, six states have inheritance taxes. Maryland, whose nickname is the Free State, has both.

The good news for retirees focused on estate planning: There are 33 states that have neither estate taxes nor inheritance taxes.

SEE ALSO: All 50 States Ranked for Retirement



Alabama

Overall Rating for Taxes on Retirees: Tax-friendly

State Sales Tax: 4% state levy. Localities can add as much as 7% to that, and the average combined rate is 9.15%, according to the Tax Foundation. Alabama is one of the few states that does not exempt food from sales tax.

State Income Tax Range: Low: 2% (on up to $1,000 of taxable income for married joint filers and up to $500 for all others); High: 5% (on more than $6,000 of taxable income for married joint filers and more than $3,000 for all others). Alabama also allows residents to deduct all of their federal income tax from state taxable income.

State Taxes on Social Security: Benefits are not taxed.

Property Taxes: The median property tax on Alabama's median home value of $128,500 is $550.

For additional information on taxes on other retirement income and tax breaks for retirees, see the complete guide to taxes on retirees in Alabama .

SEE ALSO: 18 Red Flags for IRS Auditors



Alaska

Overall Rating for Taxes on Retirees: Most tax-friendly

State Sales Tax: Alaska is one of five states with no state sales tax. However, localities can levy sales taxes, which can go as high as 7.5%. But, according to the Tax Foundation, the statewide average is only 1.43%.

State Income Tax Range: No state income tax.

State Taxes on Social Security: Benefits are not taxed.

Property Taxes: The median property tax on Alaska's median home value of $257,100 is $3,048. Property taxes are usually levied in larger municipalities. Smaller jurisdictions tend to rely on sales taxes instead.

For additional information on property taxes, taxes on other retirement income and tax breaks for retirees, see the complete guide to taxes on retirees in Alaska .

SEE ALSO: 10 Strangest Ways States Tax You (And Don't)



Arizona

Overall Rating for Taxes on Retirees: Mixed tax picture

State Sales Tax: 5.6% state levy. Localities can add as much as 5.3% to that, but the average combined levy is 8.33%, according to the Tax Foundation. Many cities in Arizona levy a tax on food for home consumption; Phoenix and Mesa are notable exceptions.

State Income Tax Range: Low: 2.59% (on up to $20,690 of taxable income for married joint filers and up to $10,346 for all others); High: 4.54% (on more than $310,317 of taxable income for married joint filers and more than $155,159 for all others)

State Taxes on Social Security: Benefits are not taxed.

Property Taxes: The median property tax on Arizona's median home value of $167,500 is $1,356.

For additional information on property taxes, taxes on other retirement income and tax breaks for retirees, see the complete guide to taxes on retirees in Arizona .

SEE ALSO: 10 Cheapest Small Towns in America



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of NASDAQ, Inc.