As we told you the 2010 Tax Relief Act raised the estate and gift tax exemption to $5 million. Basically this means that if your estate is worth less than $5 million then you do not have to pay any estate taxes if you die in 2011 or 2012. For the majority of American this means no estate taxes.
The 2010 Tax Relief Act lowers estate and generation skipping transfer (GST) taxes (a whole other area of overly complex tax law) for 2011 and 2012 by increasing the exemption amount from $1 million to $5 million (as indexed after 2011) and reducing the top rate from 55% to 35%. The $5 million exemption is per person. Thus, there is a $10 million exemption for a married couple. Plus, as explained in future blog posts, there is a new portability feature for married couples.