The lifetime unified estate and gift tax exemption goes up in 2014 to $5,340,000 (up from $5.25 Million in 2013). The annual exclusion for gift tax purposes remains steady at the same level as 2013: $14,000 per person per year in 2014.
This means that an individual who dies in 2014 may give away up to $5.34 Million during their lives before owing any gift tax. Likewise, an individual dying in 2014 may have up to $5.34 Million in assets (reduced by any lifetime gifts) before their estate will be subjected to any Federal Estate Tax.
It's important to remember that the unified estate and gift tax exemption is $5.34 Million per person. This means that a husband and wife may exempt up to $10.68 Million in assets or gifts before owing any tax. Maximizing the value of each spouse's unified credit is not automatic, however. Planning may be required to avoid having assets unnecessarily exposed to the Federal estate tax at death (which in 2014 is 40% of the excess over the exemption amount).
Remember too that the annual exclusion of $14,000 in tax-free gifts per person, per year, does not count against your lifetime unified estate and gift tax exemption.