According to a prominent author and estate planning expert, current tax exemption laws make now an ideal time to ensure that your heirs do not have to pay hefty estate taxes following your death. Seasonal residents of Florida need to stay knowledgeable regarding state estate tax law, however.

Although Florida does not currently have estate tax, such a law has been introduced in Florida's legislature several times. If passed, the law would impose estate tax for non-permanent residents of Florida looking to transfer property if their home state imposes a similar tax on people from Florida.

If such a bill never makes it through Congress, however, wealthy individuals can take advantage of current regulations to save a significant sum on estate taxes. Due to inflation, 2011's $5 million estate tax exemption has risen to $5.12 million for 2012. However, 2013 is unlikely to see such a beneficial figure, with the exemption expected to drop down to $1 million.

Additionally, if your spouse files IRS Form 706 within nine months of your death, the exemption becomes portable. This would allow any unused portion of your estate tax exemption to be passed to your spouse after you pass away. This means that your estate will qualify for a combined exemption of $10.24 million in 2012. Additionally, you are currently allowed to give $13,000 to each member of your family each year before incurring gift tax, which can further help make sure your heirs do not have to pay estate tax when you die.

Source: Palm Beach Daily News, "Consider taking advantage of estate tax exemptions to ease planning amid uncertainty," Gail Liberman, Nov. 12, 2011