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Fairfield County Estates Fuel Record Growth In Tax Payments

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Connecticut experienced a record-breaking increase in estate taxes in 2012, fueled in part by large estates in Fairfield County, The Hartford Courant reported .

The state estimated it would collect about $150 million, but the projection soared to $428 million — the highest amount in state history, said the Courant, which reviewed probate documents. As a result, the state will have a budget surplus, the Courant said.

The largest estate, of $159 million, belonged to Richard M. Ruzika of Greenwich.

The second largest estate, at $88 million, was held by Lucie Cunningham Warren of Westport, the grandmother of Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield.

Another large estate belonged to famed Wall Street investor Barton Biggs of Grrenwich, whose public probate file shows that his estate paid $31 million on Jan. 10 "as payment on account of the estate's Connecticut estate tax liability.'' The exact size of his estate has not yet been calculated, according to his probate file.

In Connecticut, an inheritance tax is paid only by those who die with more than $2 million in assets.

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