Based on recently published inflation tables, it is projected that for 2016, the per person estate and gift tax exmeption will rise to $5.45 million (from the current $5.43 million amount). That means that an individual can leave $5.45 million to heirs and not pay any estate tax. Because the exemption is per person, a married couple would be able to shield $10.9 million from estate tax. Due to tax law changes in 2010, the estate and gift tax exemption amount is indexed for inflation, which is why there tends to be a steady annual increase in the exemption amount each year.
However, the annual gift tax exclusion (which is the amount which can be transferred per donee free of any estate/gift tax implications) will remain static at $14,000.