The 2015 estate and gift tax exemption will be $5,430,000 per person, or $10,860,000 for a married couple. (In 2014, it was $5,340,000 per person.)
You won’t have to worry about an estate tax unless your estate value is greater than $5,430,000 if you are single or $10,860,000 if you are married. The 2015 estate tax rate will stay at 40% for estates in excess of the exemption.
The 2015 annual gift exclusion, the amount you can gift each year to anyone without using any of your lifetime gift exemption, will remain at $14,000 or $28,000 for a married couple.
Because of this big estate and gift tax exemption, almost all families are now exempt from the estate tax. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 3,700 estates will owe federal estate taxes in 2014.
However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to do tax planning with your estate plan. Many families will still have to deal with the the capital gains tax. Good estate planning can reduce or eliminate the capital gains tax. I wrote about this here and here.