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1) Annual gifts of (currently) $12,000. Each person can give this amount to as many people as they want (as far as I know). Is there some limit to a lifetime total on these gifts? IF MIL gives her daughter and son-in-law $24,000 per year for 15 years is she exceeding a limit?

That's corrrect. No limit on how many years you do this.
Some older people use this to transfer wealth for years. In Millionaire Next Door, he mentions "economic outpatients" who become dependent on the extra $24000 from MIL.

2) Estate tax exemption. Currently $2 million, going up in 2009, eliminated for 2010 (rich people watch your back year) after which is conjecture. As far as I know, the $12,000 per year given while alive is irrelevant to the $2 million exemption once the person dies.

That's correct. It might have a different name that "estate tax exemption."

One of the other boards I read regularaly is Estate Planning and the Fool

Vickifool

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