Politico has a good article on the possible outcomes on the “fiscal cliff”, part of which is the estate tax changes. This is located at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83701.html?hp=f1.
Personally I believe the most likely outcome is that nothing will be agreed to by January 1st. However, President Obama and the Democrats will then likely win the game of chicken with the Republicans.
To summarize, below are the changes that will go into effect on January 1st if the President and the Congress do not act:
Present January 1, 2013
Estate Tax Exemption $5,120,000 $1,000,000
Gift Tax Exemption $5,120,000 $1,000,000
Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Exemption $5,120,000 $1,340,000
Maximum Tax Rate for the Above Taxes 35 percent 55 percent*
Unused Estate Tax Exemption from Deceased
Spouse to Surviving Spouse (“portability”) Yes No
(* Actually 60 percent on estates/gifts above $10,000,000 and under $17,184,000.)
Federal Estate Tax News Blog