You can reduce the value of your estate by making gifts of money, property, or other assets during your lifetime. You can make gifts of up to $13,000 per person per year without paying gift taxes on the money, and you can make those gifts to as many people as you choose for as many years as you wish. There is a lifetime gift limit of $1 million dollars that is only used up if you go over that $13k gift per person per year. If you gift more than that amount to one individual in one year, you are using up your gift tax exclusion and also the estate tax exemption and therefore that amount would not be available at your death. However, if the estate tax (otherwise known as the death tax) is permanently repealed, as some in Congress are calling for, this may not be a concern. Keep in mind, though, that the estate tax was instituted to fund wars. Our war on terror has certainly been a drain on our national budget, so the argument can be made that the estate tax is here to stay.