By way of example, a married couple with 3 children and 6 grandchildren could, in one year, give each child and grandchild $26,000, for a total gift of $234,000. This amount is completely removed from the donor’s estate, thus reducing the amount of the estate that is potentially subject to the federal estate tax.
Because we are coming to the end of 2009 there is an opportunity to make a gift before the end of the year and another gift on or after January 1 using the gift tax exclusion for 2010 for the second gift. In the example above, it would thus be possible to give away money or property valued at $468,000 within a period of several weeks without incurring any gift tax.
With 2009 coming to a close individuals with estates that might otherwise be subject to the federal estate tax should give serious consideration to taking advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion and establishing an annual gift program as part of their estate planning. Every year that goes by without gifts is another lost opportunity.
— Kevin Palmer