Assets transferred to either your spouse or to charitable organizations are not subject to estate taxes. From 2006 through 2008, assets passing to other individuals will be taxed if the net value of those assets is $2 million or more. That amount will increase to $3.5 million in 2009. Then, the estate tax will disappear completely in 2010. In 2011, however, unless Congress passes an extension, the exemption will revert back to $1 million. For estates which approach or exceed this value, significant estate taxes can be saved by proper estate planning.