Do you know what the federal estate tax exemption is this year? Some say $5,000,000. Some say there is no estate tax. Some say $600,000. Some say $1,000,000. Some say $100,000. There are all different numbers that could be correct and there are many reasons people come up with those numbers. However, the correct answer is $5,120,000. That is you can give away (if you have it) $5,120,000 during life or at death, THIS YEAR, without estate tax. From the IRS website:
Estate and Gift
For an estate of any decedent dying during calendar year 2012, the basic exclusion from estate tax amount is $5,120,000, up from $5,000,000 for calendar year 2011.