According to this Wall Street Journal article, the rise is now official. When the new estate tax laws were passed at the beginning of 2013, the law set the applicable exclusion amount (the value of assets that an individual can pass without any estate taxes) at $5,000,000. That amount was indexed for inflation based on the consumer price index back to 2010. For 2013, the exclusion amount was $5.25 million; for 2014, it was $5.34 million and for 2015 it will increase to $5.43 million. This amount is per person – meaning that a married couple can give $10.86 million of assets during their life or at their passing without any estate tax incurred.
One point of note: some high-net worth families gave irrevocable gifts of $5 million in 2012 when the status of the law was uncertain. Now that the exemption has increased, those families (if married) can plan with an additional $430,000 (or $860,000) for a married couple to give free of estate taxes.
The annual gift exclusion of $14,000 per person per gift will remain the same in 2015 but is likely to increase to $15,000 in 2016 or 2017.