One way to reduce estate taxes is to reduce the size of your estate before you die. So, spend some and enjoy it! Also, you probably know whom you want to have your assets after you die. If you can afford it, why not make some gifts now and save estate taxes? It can be very satisfying to see the results of your gifts, something you can’t do if you wait until you die.
Appreciating assets are best to give because any future appreciation will also be out of your estate. Gifted assets keep your cost basis (what you paid for them), so recipients may pay capital gains tax when they sell. But at 15% on assets held longer than 12 months, that would be less than estate taxes (35-55%) if you keep the assets until you die.
Some popular strategies are introduced below. Note that these are irrevocable, so you can’t change your mind later.