The estate tax exemption is currently $3.5M, meaning that upon death, a person can transfer up to $3.5M to his or her heirs tax free (or $7.0M per married couple). This amount is the result of legislation that has increased the exemption from $650,000 in 1999 to the current amount for this year. The legislation was slated to grant an unlimited estate tax exemption for next year, making 2010 facetiously known as the "Year to Die" for estate tax purposes. However, in the 2010 federal budget proposal which is being debated as this newsletter is going to print President Obama has proposed that the estate tax remain at the 2009 level, meaning there would be no unlimited estate tax exemption for 2010. The consensus among both Democrats and Republicans is that Obama's budget will pass, so for anyone considering dying next year in order to save estate taxes, you may have just been granted an extension!