Excerpt from Florida Today: (click for entire article)
QUESTION:Are the federal estate tax laws going to change?
ANSWER: Unless Congress adopts new estate tax laws before the end of 2012 (or retroactively in 2013), much lower estate-tax exemptions will automatically apply beginning on Jan. 1 of next year. Instead of the current estate tax exemption of more than $5 million ($10 million for a married couple), only a $1 million individual estate tax exemption will be available once the so-called Bush tax cuts expire on the last day of this year.
For wealthy families, this change in the estate-tax exemption could reduce the amount that can be inherited tax-free by millions of dollars. For that reason, many wealthy families have already or should consider making tax-free gifts this year in case the exemption is reduced.