If you are rich enough your estate will pay a 40% tax above the exemption
UNIFIED TAX CONCEPT
Under the federal estate taxes and gift taxes laws, the amount that one gives away during one’s lifetime counts toward the entire exclusion from estate and gift taxes. The lifetime estate and gift tax exclusion is now at $5 million per person indexed for inflation. For 2014 the exclusion is $5,340,000 per person. There is a federal estate tax of 40% of the net asset value of the estate over 5,340,000. Thus, if a person dying in 2014 has $6,340,000 in net asset value, he would have $1 million taxable and the tax would be $400,000. Under the unified tax concept, the exclusion is reduced for whatever gifts are made over and above the annual gift tax exclusion amount. Thus, one cannot escape estate taxes by giving away once estate prior to death.