Click Here for Important Information Regarding Estate Planning and Changes to Tax Laws

Most estates are not subject to federal estate tax given the fact that the exemption amount per individual in 2013 is $5.25 million and per married couple $10.5 million. It is still useful to know the general mechanics of estate and gift taxes, however.

The estate tax exemption amount ($5.25 million in 2013) is now unified with the gift tax and generation-skipping exemption amounts, meaning that you can make gifts of some or all of the $5.25 million while you are alive if you wish, with the remainder used at your death to offset some or all of any estate taxes due.